Don’t put a cork in it: why Australia still loves its boxed ‘goon’ wine | Wine

Boxed wine is one in every of Australia’s most extraordinary contributions to the wine trade, also referred to as cardboardeaux, bag-in-box or, extra generally, goon (from flagon).

The Australian winemaker Thomas Angrove patented the design for a one-gallon polyethylene bladder in a cardboard field in 1965, impressed by the traditional technique of storing wine in goat skins. The primary mannequin required drinkers to chop a nook of the plastic bag and reseal it with a particular class peg (used to move battery acid).

Historical past of goon

As soon as a faucet was designed in the Seventies, goon climbed shortly to make up about 50% of wine gross sales in Australia. Within the days when eating places bought “home wine”, goon was identified for being economical above the rest, and handy, related extra with households on a funds and folks on low incomes.

Wine in the 70s was still perceived as for particular events and casks could have helped change that. Thirty years later, between 2004 and 2014, there was a 30% drop in cask gross sales however a 40% enhance in bottled wine. As home gross sales dropped, the cask idea (and its contents) have been being exported.

Goon has come a good distance from its origins and early fame. The visible enchantment of the field and the bag has advanced, together with the narrative the wine label communicates about historical past, geography, id.

Because the environmental advantages of wine in a field have turn out to be extra vital to new shoppers, the standard of its contents has additionally improved. Jilly Wine Firm’s Chateau Cardboard Purple, at $71 for 3 litres, is a good distance from the one-gallon packs of desk white, desk pink, port, candy sherry and muscat launched in 1965.

There are good causes why Australians love goon, and there are sturdy causes for the like to develop.


Whether or not happening a picnic or tenting, goon is infinitely simpler to move than glass. It fits a life-style.

Lighter packaging additionally reduces carbon dioxide emissions, since most of this throughout the wine manufacturing course of is in transportation.


A lifecycle evaluation of bag-in-box packaging reveals additionally it is extra sustainable than glass bottles.

Pouring red wine from a box
‘The common wine client associates boxed wine with low cost wine, a stereotype price dismissing.’ {Photograph}: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy

Whereas the plastic – the bag and spigot – can current issues with disposal, the ratio of uncooked materials to the amount of content material, manufacturing course of, light-weight packaging and transport make it a better option on environmental grounds, which is why goon is turning into a extra standard and international selection.


Market analysis confirmed cask wine gross sales jumped by 21% in the 4 weeks to April 2020, defined by a mixture of individuals being housebound and anxious about cash.

As soon as bought, if you’re consuming in moderation, you possibly can keep away from going out for wine for longer, which throughout Covid restrictions was secure and handy.


Opposite to standard opinion, goon isn’t solely the selection of people that would possibly wish to drink a lot. The vacuum-sealed bag retains the wine recent for as much as six weeks after it’s opened.


Cheaper wine is taxed much less. Wine is taxed on its wholesale worth, not its alcohol content material, via the wine equalisation tax. This helps a well being argument towards goon, for serving no curiosity besides the liquor trade when there may be a lot proof for the harm attributable to alcohol. Elevated taxes have been discovered to cut back consumption and alcohol-related harms.

Goon doesn’t essentially equate to low cost wine or a three-day progress. The uncooked materials used to supply it additionally prices lower than glass packaging. Other than Iceland and Norway, Australia has the best alcohol tax charges amongst OECD international locations. There’s a vary of implications for wine pricing.

Snobbery and wine in a bag

High quality is commonly related to worth, producing stigma round goon (evident in the label). There’s a truthful quantity of snobbery in the wine trade.

Wine is each related to wealth and standing (an costly bottle) and with being poor (goon); age corresponds the identical manner. What does a teenager find out about how fruity lexia or moselle ought to style in addition to candy? However there may be a hole in that argument that spins on a mixture of things – high quality, atmosphere, nostalgia, price, life-style. “It took a monumental shift in perceptions of wine to make screwcaps standard and mainstream”, in response to a wine advertising and marketing knowledgeable on the College of South Australia, Prof Larry Lockshin.

The common wine client associates boxed wine with low cost wine, a stereotype price dismissing. It’s time our secret love was not so secret any extra.

Culinary cringe

Australians could turn out to be extra sincere about their love of goon now that it’s rising in reputation elsewhere. Boxed wine accounts for about 50% of the wine consumed in Australia, Norway and Sweden. The French have been boxing bordeaux since 1997, and 44% of the wine bought in French supermarkets comes in a field.

Youth and nostalgia

Goon hymns, goon-of-fortune and goon bag pillows are still in attain however the high quality of wine has matured with us. The Brisbane creator Edwina Shaw drew on her private expertise in her 2019 novel Thrill Seekers:

Our campaign. We wished to be the best, and that meant having the ability to drink everybody else below the desk. So we made a pact to drink a four-litre cask of wine a day, every, till we gained. Moselle … We weren’t simply any previous drinkers – we have been the “Goon Infants”.

After I arrived in Brisbane in 1984, the Goon Infants have been legends; humorous, clever, inventive thrillseekers. Shaw’s e book additionally traces self-destruction and loss. I perceive the irony of writing in such a cavalier manner concerning the goon we might afford as college students. However it might be snobby and ageist to counsel packaging alone maketh the wine or the problems that may drive us to drink, or that alcohol issues are the protect of the poor and younger.

Gen X goon drinkers at the moment are in their 40s and 50s, and many people gained’t be capable to abdomen moselle. Now we have to return to phrases with the actual fact wine in a bag can also’t be aged.

However as Colin Alevras, the sommelier on the New York restaurant DBGB’s put it: “The wine bottle is late-18th century know-how. It’s time to maneuver on.”

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button