106
BEVERAGE MEDIA
September 2013
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WINE
AUSTRALIA’S YALUMBA EXCELS IN SUSTAINABLE
WINEGROWING COMPETITION
Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, has
become the first non-U.S. winery to win the BRIT In-
ternational Award of Excellence in Sustainable Wine-
growing. Founded in 1987, the Botanical Research
Institute of Texas (BRIT) based in Fort Worth, TX,
is an international, scientific research and learning
center focused on conservation, knowledge shar-
ing, and studying the diversity of plant life. The
BRIT award is the only international sustainable
winegrowing award of its kind. Yalumba bested a
field of international sustainable wineries with its
impressive sustainability program consisting of envi-
ronmental, social and economic activities. The 2013
award recipient was successful due to their business-wide improve-
ment process along with the final (and a very important) judging
criteria—wine taste. The awarded wine was the Yalumba Y Series
Shiraz Viognier.
W
illiam J Rouhana Sr. – Bill,
to all who knew him—died
June 14
th
; he was 91 years
old. With an accounting background,
Bill began in the wine business in
the 1952 working with Transamerica
Wines, helping to bring them back
to profitability. In 1962, Bob Mondavi
called him to tell him that there was
a small wine company for sale in the Bronx that he thought
would be perfect for Bill: Testa Wines. He was right, but be-
fore the paperwork could be signed, Mr Testa died, leaving
Bill to figure out what to do.
With borrowed money and four small kids, Bill took a
chance and bought the winery outright. He sold off all the
winery equipment since his interest was in importing and
distributing and gave the money to the widow. He then
quickly used relationships from his days at Transamerica to
set up distribution deals, and he brought in his own Testa
label of wines from Mondavi. In 1970, Bill introduced the first
Australian wines into the US. In 1971, he was approached
by Ab Simon to start a fine wine division for Seagram’s; Cha-
teau & Estate ran through Testa wines for almost 10 years.
Almost every major wine brand was sold through Testa at
one time or another, including Korbel, Bolla, Ruffino, Moët,
Riunite and Mouton Cadet. In 2000, Bill sold the business
to his daughter, Debbie Lane, who continues to carry on the
family tradition and business, along with her children.
IN MEMORIAM
William J. Rouhana Sr.
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