One of Australia's largest wine exporters has expanded its material
handling fleet to 140 Toyota forklifts nationally to maintain its weekly output
of more than two million litres of wine.
Casella Family Brands is based at Yenda, near Griffith in rural New South
Wales, and exports its products to 52 countries worldwide. Since 1969 Casella
has been Australia's largest family-owned winery and its major brand [yellow
tail] accounts for one-fifth of all bottled wine products leaving Australia.
The 82 forklifts at the Yenda facility are supported by Liftek Griffith on
behalf of Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) with an onsite workshop and
The Toyota forklifts at Yenda range from the popular 2.5-tonne payload 8FG25 to
larger 4.5 and 8-tonne payload forklifts. They also have a 15-tonne capacity
Toyota 4FD150 with a Bolzoni Auramo side attachment for stacking empty 20 and
40-foot containers. Each 20-foot container can hold 1100 cartons or about
10,000 litres of wine.
Liftek Griffith founder Vince Staltare hired an additional service technician
in 2004 to meet the increased service requirements of Casella Family Brand's
then 36 Toyota forklifts. Vince's son Chaise is now managing director of the
Casella Family Brands' head of distribution Sam McLeod said the quality of the
product and after-sales support were key factors in choosing Toyota forklifts.
"Toyota builds a very reliable forklift and our local dealer services our
business needs well," he said.
"Currently we have one full-time employee from Liftek Griffith on site
five days a week, as well as a 24-hour breakdown service. At peak periods such
as vintage we have a second person come on site to enable all servicing to be
completed in set time frames." (Vintage begins mid-January with the first
In addition to the 82 Toyota forklifts at the main site in Yenda further units
are located at the domestic warehouse, DMR-Rice Mill and Miranda's. Casella
Family Brands winery Peter Lehmann Wines also has six Toyota forklifts in the
Barossa Valley, including two battery-electric forklifts and four 2.5-tonne
forklifts that were transferred from Yenda.
The Toyota forklifts at Yenda are used throughout the whole wine-making,
bottling and shipping process. "There is always a peak in mid-January for
the forklift fleet as we receive the first grapes for vintage," Mr McLeod
Liftek's Chaise Staltare said his company had expanded in parallel with Casella
"We have grown with Casella Family Brands and have always aimed to offer
them service that is second to none," Mr Staltare said.
"We planned the details with Casella and now have a small, fully equipped
workshop at the winery. Prevention is better than cure, and we have a service
technician on deck five days a week to keep the Casella forklifts in tip-top
"Having the workshop allows us to carry a wide range of spare parts - more
than can be carried in a service van - so forklifts can be back in production
more quickly. We also offer a 24-hour breakdown service out of Griffith at
night and on weekends."
Liftek has serviced Griffith and the wider Riverina area since 1995 when Vince
Staltare drew on his 15 years' experience in the material handling industry to
start his own business. In 1999 Vince's son Chaise joined the business after
completing his automotive qualification.
The impressive scale of Casella Family Brand's operation includes one of the
fastest wine bottling lines in the world, capable of processing 36,000 bottles
The winery site occupies 32 hectares and includes the largest rain and
waste-water treatment plant of its type in Australia. The company's weekly
output through Yenda of 2,100,000 litres of wine equates to 3900 pallets or 210
Achieving Casella Family Brand's annual wine product volume requires the grapes
from 15 to 16,000 hectares of vineyard. Fruit is sourced from premium growing
districts including Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Padthaway, the Barossa and Clare
Valleys in South Australia, and the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
In 2011 Casella processed close to 10 per cent of Australia's grape crush.
Toyota's 8FG25 model makes up the majority of the Casella forklift fleet.
It is one of the comprehensive Toyota 8-Series range of counter-balance
forklifts, which includes gas and diesel models, as well as full range of
Safety features of the leading-edge 8-Series forklift range include Toyota's
exclusive System of Active Stability (SAS) and Operator Presence Sensing (OPS)
as standard features.