Australian wine industry pioneer Bob Oatley passed away in Sydney on Sunday 10 January 2016 at the age of 87.
The family released this statement:
“It is with profound sadness the Oatley family announces the passing of Robert Ian Oatley, AO, BEM. Known affectionately to all as Bob, he was a proud and passionate Australian recognised for his outstanding contributions to the Australian wine, tourism, coffee, sailing and thoroughbred horse industries. Bob was also well-recognised as a philanthropist who supported Australian Olympic activities, medical research and the arts.
“The Oatley family has been touched by the many kind words and tributes that have already been received from friends, colleagues and the wider Australian community. They thank everyone for their love and condolences.”
In the 1960s Bob opened up Papua New Guinea’s coffee and cocoa markets, before launching Rosemount Estate with a heavy focus on exports.
Bob sold Rosemount to Southcorp for $1.49 billion in 2001. He was appointed to the board of the merged entity, but they were unhappy times and he ended up selling his remaining share in the business to Foster’s and buying Hamilton Island.
In 2005 Bob returned to the wine business, launching Robert Oatley Vineyards, run by his son, Sandy, and a formidable team including Larry Cherubino, Chris Hancock and Darren Jahn.
Bob was a keen yachtsman whose super-maxi, Wild Oats XI, won the Sydney to Hobart a record eight times.
He is survived by his wife Valerie, his three children, Sandy, Ian and Ros Oatley, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
A private funeral will be held.
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