Case Study – Casella Family Brands

How Oculyze established consistent, repeatable and timely yeast counting and viability analyses for Casella Family Brands.

Location: New South Wales – Australia
Production Capacity:

  • Capable of bottling up to 36,000 bottles of wine per hour
  • Production of 12.5 million cases of wine per year

“Crafting consistently high-quality wines is at the heart of everything we do.”
John Casella, Managing Director

Introduction

Casella Family Brands is one of Australia’s largest family-owned wine companies based in Yenda, New South Wales. As a global brand, they export their wine all over the world — and have one of the largest wine processing facilities in Australia.

Casella Family Brands has a long and rich history. Founded in 1969, the Casella family, as Sicily-born and Australian immigrants, built a winery to support their family. Since its establishment, the Casella family brand has grown into a global wine distributor and is a highly-recognizable brand.

[yellow tail] is the Casella family’s main wine product, and it is best known for its easiness to drink, consistent quality, taste, and respectable value. [yellow tail]’s fruit-forward, delicious and soft palate is now recognizable globally — having exceeded to over one billion [yellow tail] wine bottled and approximately ten billion glasses of wine consumed. Its success begins in their state-of-the-art processing facility.

As one of Australia’s largest wineries, the Yenda wine processing facility is at a large production capacity and is capable of crushing over 170,000 tonnes of grapes during a single vintage. The winery is involved at all levels of the wine production; from harvest to crushing, wine fermentation, and bottling. The global winery has two bottling lines and a cask line on its main site. It has a wide range of tank sizes with the biggest tank up to 1.1 million liters.

Half owned by Casella and Coca Cola, Australia Beer Company, also rests on the property.

The Challenge

With a global reputation on-the-line, the Casella family searched for a technological solution to improve fermentation consistency and process efficiency in the lab with the overall goal of reducing costs.

Before Laura Mallamace, the Cellar Laboratory Technical Manager, approached Oculyze, they wished to achieve three major goals in wine fermentation with a viable technological solution.

  • Accurate results

    a key goal for the Casella family.

  • Time efficiency

    eliminating manual yeast counting and its slow process.

  • Reduction in labor costs

    decreasing time spent and overall costs in the laboratory for manual yeast counting.

The Result

Casella family implemented the Oculyze portable and automated yeast counting microscope into their fermentation process seeking accurate and consistent results during the fermentation analysis.

During the trial testing, the Casella family team created three different samples enabling triplicate testing of the old microscope with manual yeast counting and the Oculyze with automated yeast counting. After comparing the results, trial testing was reputable.

The testing results showed Oculyze as more consistent in terms of the budding percentages and yeast counts. As the trial testing of Oculyze proved successful, the Casella family team prepared an established procedure and implemented the yeast counting microscope into their fermentation process. The trial testing was easy to replicate and to implement.

Overall, Oculyze provides better speed, accuracy, and repeatability over manual yeast counting. The portable, light-weight microscope is easy-to-use and accurate — with monetary savings in labor and time. The major return on investment is greater consistency in yeast counting and viability.

Conclusion

As one of Australia’s largest wineries, Casella Family Brands is required to meet high-profile wine quality consistently, efficiently, and reputability. Oculyze enables Casella Family to meet these standards by improving the overall efficiency and reliability of the yeast counting process by automating the results and eliminating human error. The portable Oculyze FW microscope is now used throughout the year.

“The key benefits we have noticed since shifting to Oculyze for yeast counting and viability are time and consistency. The device obviously saves us huge amounts of time in the lab. However, more importantly, the results are now more consistent and repeatable.”
Rocco Catanzariti, Cellar Laboratory Manager, Casella Family Brands / Yellow Tail