You don’t have to be from the Outback to know Australian wine brand Yellow Tail. The Yenda, Australia-based brand is practically ubiquitous in the U.S., where its 1.5-liter bottles are college campus staples, and its standard-size (750-milliliter) bottles are essential pickups for folks looking for inexpensive yet reliable wines to unwind with at the end of the day.
Founded in 2001, Yellow Tail’s mission is to make easy-drinking, approachable wines that can be enjoyed by all. It has succeeded in some respects — the brand is sold at practically every wine and liquor store in America, as well as Sam’s Club and online retailer Drizly — but it also catches a lot of flack for lacking complexity, and for containing additives.
Thought you know everything about Yellow Tail? Read on for 10 more interesting tidbits to impress your family with below.
Yellow Tail is Australian wine made for American drinkers.
Two families teamed up to create the Yellow Tail brand: the Deutschs and the Casellas. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits (DFWS), which had previously been selling French wine on the American market, wanted to break into the sub-$10 market. As they could not feasibly do so with French wine, they instead looked to Australian wines, which, at the time, were just beginning to break out into the American market. “We determined wine at this price point from Australia just tasted better than from other regions,” Peter Deutsch, CEO of DFWS, told VinePair in 2015. “We decided we wanted to get involved in the Aussie business and deliver the best bottle of wine on the market for six bucks.”
John Casella, whose Italian family had been producing wine in Australia since the 1960s under the label Casella Family Wines, knew he also wanted to get into the American market. When he caught wind of the Deutsches’ new project, he decided to get involved. And so, Yellow Tail Wine — stylized [yellow tail] — was born as a 50/50 venture between the two families.
It has some Spanish influence, too.
Along with its well-known Aussie red (Shiraz) and white (Sauvignon Blanc), Yellow Tail offers two flavors of bottled sangria: Sangria Blanco, which features white wine and flavors of citrus and peach; and a more traditional Sangria, featuring red wine and citrus. (No real fruit is added to either product.)
Yellow Tail hopped to the top.
After launching in the U.S. in 2001, the abundantly available wine brand became a fast favorite among American wine drinkers. In 2011, just 10 years after its launch, Yellow Tail was the top imported wine in the U.S. That year, Yellow Tail sold more wine to Americans than every French wine producer combined.
A bottle of Yellow Tail is cheaper than some craft beers.
The majority of 750-milliliter bottles of Yellow Tail wines retail for around $6. That’s less than one cent per milliliter.
There is a fancy version of Yellow Tail.
While its many standard bottles are in the $6 range, Yellow Tail also offers a more premium line of wines. The Reserve collection offers a way into the world of premium wines, yet, as Yellow Tail managing director John Casella told The Chicago Tribune in 2010, “it comes from a brand that they are familiar with, so there’s a reassurance factor.” These wines are sold for about $12, so even though that’s almost double the standard bottles, it’s still a fraction of the price of many premium brands.
Consumers have a love-hate relationship with Yellow Tail.
Amid the recent prominence of natural and “clean” wines, Yellow Tail is often criticized for its less-than-natural winemaking techniques, and for the fact that its wines are made in bulk. Most mass-market wines like Yellow Tail are engineered and manipulated by food scientists and are full of additives such as sulfur dioxide and oak adjuncts — in turn creating consistent, albeit one-note flavors. However, some critics say we should embrace brands like Yellow Tail for their technological innovations and abilities to attract consumers who don’t typically drink wine.
Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and … lager?
Yellow Tail’s most popular labels among Total Wine customers include its Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Shiraz Cabernet, and Merlot. But in 2016, Yellow Tail released a line of beers in two U.S. test markets in Virginia and Rhode Island. From Australian Pale Ale, to Sunset Lager, the brand’s beers were promised to be uncomplicated and “never bitter.” However, the brand likely discontinued its beer, as there’s been no sign of Yellow Tail beer in years.
Its mascot isn’t what you think.
Think the marsupial donning every Yellow Tail bottle is a kangaroo? Think again. The brand’s mascot is actually a yellow-footed rock wallaby, a small marsupial that has yellow-colored feet, and (you guessed it) a yellow tail.
Yellow Tail has health-conscious consumers in mind.
The brand’s Pure Bright collection launched in 2019— featuring lower-ABV and lower-calorie versions of its Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio — has only 80 to 85 calories per 4-ounce serving. Yellow Tail also offers vegan-friendly wines, which are identified by a vegan logo printed on their back labels.
Yellow Tail wants to be in your cocktails … and more.
On its website, Yellow Tail features over 20 recipes, all using its wines. From classic cocktails like Sangria and mulled wine, to trendy offerings like frozé, home mixologists will be sure to find a Yellow Tail cocktail they love. (There’s even a wine-infused chocolate fondue recipe that uses Cabernet Sauvignon).