Talks of the big three auto, multinational banks and global business may be a focus of today’s economy, but family-owned companies continue to be the backbone of business — and they’re sharing some pretty strong success stories.

Take for example, Australia’s yellow tail wine. In the history of beverage brand development, there have been few wine brands that have had the impact that yellow tail has. Recognized by the rock footed wallaby — not a kangaroo — on its bottle, the business was built from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s leading, most recognizable wine brands and Australia’s greatest single wine exporter — all while continuing to be managed and run by family.

The founders of Casella Wines, Filippo and Maria Casella, makers of yellow tail, emigrated from Italy to Australia in 1957 and began their winemaking careers at Yenda, in the New South Wales Riverina region in 1969.

A former prisoner of war, Filippo worked as a labourer for five years to raise enough money to buy land to grow grapes. His dedication and hard work paid off. In 2001 yellow tail was launched in the USA selling 820,000 cases that year.

Today yellow tailsells approximately 11 million cases of wine worldwide and is the number one imported wine in Canada.

In spite of its global growth, Casella Wines is still very much a hands-on family business, says John Casella, son and managing director for Casella Wines.

In addition to producing wine, the company is also focused on helping its community by offering a scholarship for undergraduate winemakers, nurses and medical students at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

The business has also considered its ecological impact and built the largest water recycling treatment plant in Australia, capable of recycling the equivalent of 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools each year.

“We are proud of our success but more proud of the fact we are all working together, recognized and respected,” says John.

“The winery is more than just about making a wine that consumers love and enjoy. For me it is all about family. My favourite moment happens every Sunday when the entire family gathers around the table to share a great meal and afternoon together and of course, yellow tail is always present.”