Wynn’s perfected the wine cask (bag-in-a-box) in 1970, with a tap that was exposed by tearing away a panel on the front of the box. The new design offered extra convenience for drinkers and “chateau cardboard” helped to make wine an everyday drink. Orlando’s Coolabah wine cask, launched in 1973, became famous with the advertising campaign “Where do you hide your Coolabah?”
Bag-in-a-box packaging was used in America in 1955 to transport battery acid. Australian wine-makers were the first to grasp its potential as a wine container.
The world’s first wine cask was created by Angoves in 1965 but the design was unwieldy, requiring users to cut off a corner of the bag and re-seal it with a peg. In 1967, Penfolds Wines patented an improved version they called the ‘Tablecask’, designed like a barrel lying on its side, with a plastic, air-tight tap. Unfortunately, the tap leaked, and the product was soon abandoned.
The version introduced by Wynn’s in 1970 became the standard design. As the wine was extracted through the tap, the inner bag collapsed so the wine was not exposed to air and didn’t oxidise. However, the material used for the bag would, over time, allow some air to penetrate, meaning that cask wine could not be expected to last and improve in the same way as bottled wine.
Cask wine sales are declining, however. A Roy Morgan survey in 2015 found that while 45% of Australian adults drink some kind of wine in an average four-week period, only 16% of them ( still almost 1.3 million people) consume cask wine, a substantial decline from the 30% (2.3 million) who drank it back in 2007.
They found that cask wine is especially popular among older Australians. People aged 65+ are almost 60% more likely to go for goon than the average wine drinker. At the opposite end of the age spectrum, 18-24 year-olds are also more likely to buy casks.