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Rosemount Estate founder Robert Oatley dies at 87

Published:  11 January, 2016

Australian winemaker and entrepreneur Robert Oatley has died aged 87.

Best known in the wine trade for establishing Rosemount Estate in 1969, Oatley went on to found Robert Oatley Vineyards with his son, Sandy, in 2006.

He built Rosemount into the largest family owned winery in Australia and the second best-selling Australian wine brand in the US.

Oatley sold Rosemount Estate to Southcorp in 2001 for AU$1.4 billion.

Latterly he achieved wider fame through his involvement in yachting, winning the world-famous Sydney-to-Hobart Boxing Day race eight times in the ten years to 2014 with his yacht, Wild Oates XI.

He was unable to compete in 2015 owing to storm damage to the yacht.

In a statement, his family said: "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."

Oatley made his first fortune exporting coffee and cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea before turning his attention to wine.

He was named as an 'Officer of the Order of Australia' in the 2014 Australia Day Honours.

Oatley is survived by his wife Valerie, his three children, Sandy, Ian and Ros Oatley, and by seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.