Australia has always had a colourful relationship with alcohol. Rum formed the building blocks of the first colonies, used even as currency. Legendary Prime Minister Bob Hawke holds the record for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds, something that would naturally endear him to the people of ‘Straya. Any bloke that can scull that much beer at once has got to be a man of the people. It’s also no secret that Australia has strong wine game, with the industry being the fourth largest exporter of wine with around 750 million litres a year. 

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A big part of the Australian wine industry can be attributed to cask wine. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bag-in-a-box, I thought I’d share a few fun facts that you might not have known about the humble cask.

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Five Cask Facts

strayaSource: smh.com.au

[dropcap]1[/dropcap]Cask Wine was actually a result of some Aussie innovation and, let’s be honest, pure genius. It was invented by Australian Thomas Angove in 1965, to create an easily accessible way to package wines and keep it fresher for longer. And thus began a legend. Aussie Aussie Aussie!
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[dropcap]2[/dropcap] It’s no secret Australia has a penchant for the ‘big things,’ that is, giant statues of animals, objects and people. I would go so far as to say that practically no Australian has gone on a road trip somewhere in the country and not seen a ‘big thing.’ The Big Banana anyone? The Big Prawn? Big Merino? Dog on a Tuckerbox… Oh wait. We love a good giant novelty statue. Unsurprisingly, there was also once the Big Wine Cask, located in Mourquong, NSW. The box wine tribute stood in the Constellation Stanley winery, but unfortunately, was removed in 2013. A sad day indeed. Fortunately, the instantly recognisable giant wine sack also made an appearance at Sculptures by the Sea in Cottesloe Beach in Perth in 2014. 

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[one_third]bladderSource: battle-ready.com[/one_third]

[two_third_last][dropcap]3[/dropcap] The wine sack was inspired by the flexible packaging of old goat skins or leather bladders that stored wine in ancient times. The wineskin or Bota Bag was a pouch made from leather or goatskin to hold the alcoholic liquid. Pass the bladder, will ya?[/two_third_last]

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[two_third][dropcap]4[/dropcap] The original design required the corner of the sack be snipped off. To close it up again air was squeezed out of the bag, and sealed with a special peg before popping it back into its box and into the fridge. In 1967 Penfold Wines and C H Malpas patented a plastic, airless flow-tap welded into a metallised plastic bag. This innovation allowed the bag to stay in the box and be tapped like a traditional wine cask.[/two_third]

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pegSource: goinggreyandslightlygreen
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daptoSource: Illawarra Mercury

[dropcap]5[/dropcap]Business as usual. I had to share this one, simply because I am from the Illawarra and so I can totally relate. We in Australia love a bit of slang, in fact, we pretty much just speak in slang. I am glad that Australian English is my first language, simply because I think it’d be ridiculously hard to learn as a second language. In my researching, I came across the delightful information that among other nicknames for cask wine, one such is the Dapto Briefcase. This struck a chord with me because Dapto is a southern suburb of the good ol’ Illawarra, albeit one with a slight fondness for ugg boots (although not as much as Albion Park) and the Dapto Doggie races. My dad actually went to Dapto High School, something that he really should remember when he refers to residents of the suburb as ‘Daptoids.

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The cask admittedly has not garnered the greatest reputation, despite its rather widespread consumption. However, the humble cask is a viable option to many, whether it be poor skint uni students, twenty-somethings who are not yet highly paid wine snobs and hate alcohol wastage, or your granny who likes to have a glass now and then but doesn’t make regular visits to the bottle-o. (I know MY granny has a box in her fridge) The reputation doesn’t have to turn you off. I admit I had my reservations.

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Anyway, back to the point. One cask in particular that I got to try was De Bortoli Premium Reserve Pinot Grigio. I was fairly wary, just because I’m of the opinion that cheap white wine is noticeably much more potent in taste than say, red wine might be. That is, cheap white wine tastes cheap. I was pleasantly surprised though. It was light and clean, and I felt absolutely no need screw my face up and spit it out like I might have from a past bad wine experience. Plus, because I’m a gourmet cook at home, I have an ample supply to incorporate into my cooking too. One for me, one for the dinner, one for me…Bon Appetit!

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Another cask to try was The Winesmiths Tempranillo. I must admit I was impressed by the almost hipster-like packaging, and was surprised to discover its very low environmental impact. The box is made from 75% recycled materials, is almost totally recyclable, and has only 13% of glass’s carbon footprint. I almost imagined people weren’t judging me as I cradled the cask like a baby on the tram ride home, thanks to the understated hipster package. And that’s always a win. The taste wasn’t bad either. The mediterranean tasting red has flavours of dark cherry, strawberry and cinnamon, and is not too heavy.

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Hardy’s Butcher’s Gold Shiraz 2012 is designed to be a premium wine in a convenient, easy store box format. The idea is that if you just want a glass of wine one evening, or other times you don’t want to drink a whole bottle, but you don’t want to waste half a bottle, it’s easy. The storage time of cask wine is weeks, as opposed to days with bottled vino. While it is on the pricier end of the cask wine spectrum, it is still a reasonably priced, more premium selection.

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To celebrate the golden 50th anniversary of the Aussie invention that is boxed wine, we are giving away three prize packs:

  • Hardy’s cricket Hamper and Gourmet Food – valued at $120
  • The Winesmiths Picnic Basket – valued at $350
  • De Bortoli Retro Cooler, wine glasses, apron & wine – valued at over $150
How to enter

Cask wine just begs to be shared. Go to Facebook.com/IAteMyWayThrough, or Instagram.com/IAteMyWayThru, leave a comment and tag who you’ll share a glass of wine with if you win one of the prizes!

Enter via Facebook Enter via Instagram
Terms & Conditions
  • Competition is open to Australian residents only, aged 18 years or older
  • The competition closes on Tuesday, 19th May 2015 at 11:59pm AEST
  • Only one name is permitted per comment but entrants may enter as many times as they wish throughout the competition period
  • There are three prizes:
    • Hardy’s cricket Hamper and Gourmet Food – valued at $120
    • The Winesmiths Picnic Basket – valued at $350
    • De Bortoli Retro Cooler, wine glasses, apron & wine – valued at over $150

    Three winners will be randomly drawn to each win one prize

  • Entries must be received via comment on the Facebook competition post or Instagram competition post during the competition period, each entry must be submitted in a separate comment
  • Entrants acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Instagram
  • Incomplete and ineligible entries will be deemed invalid
  • The promoter and its associated agencies and companies will not be liable for any damage to or delay in transit of prizes
  • Winners will be announced on this page and on our Facebook page within three working days of the competition close date

Thanks for all the entries! Congratulations to winners Danielle Glew (Hardy’s prize pack), Alanna Jane (The Winesmiths prize pack), and Anand N Matilda Adiyody (De Bortoli prize pack).

This post is sponsored by Scholle Packaging; as usual, opinions are our own

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The biggest decision of Jess's day is often what to have for lunch. A coffee addict, sweet tooth and glutton all rolled in one; Jess has a love for food. She has a reputation among her friends as a big eater, and has taken on several eating challenges just to prove a point. Jess loves to bake, mainly to indulge her own sweet tooth, but also to share the dessert love! Jess works in hospitality and is constantly surrounded by delicious food - she is always first to volunteer as taste tester when any new recipes are being created. There’s no need to ask if Jess is hungry – she almost always is.