CRACKER OF AN IDEA MATE!
The ubiquitous wine cask was invented by Mr Thomas Angrove, and patented in 1965. As you may have guessed, Thomas was an Aussie; a wine maker from Renmark in South Australia. His original version was fairly rudimentary. It was a polyethylene bladder within a cardboard box. The bladder had to be cut at one corner to release the wine. It was then resealed with a rubber band or a paper clip.
An important refinement was made two years later by another Australian, Mr Charles Malpas, working with Penfold Wines. Malpas invented an air-tight tap which is attached to a metalised bladder
Of course, wine connoisseurs were scathing and referred to the contents of the casks as Chateau de Cardboard. The container itself was dubbed a Dapto Briefcase (Dapto is a working-class suburb of Wollongong). The image was further tarnished when young revellers took to drinking wine straight from the bladder at outdoor events. Oh yes, and those who bought casks tended to drink every day, instead of once or twice a week as bottle buyers did.
Despite all the detractors, there is a positive to this type of container Because the bladder deflates as the wine is removed, no air pocket forms and therefore less oxidization occurs. The wine remains drinkable for 2-3 weeks.
In its heyday during the 1970s, a huge proportion of wine was sold in casks. However there was a steady decline until the figure sank to about 20%, with grandparents and teenagers the main clientele. The situation called for some clever marketing.
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Well, well…..look what they came up with. And yes that’s me in the photo below. I was seduced by novelty, just as they hoped.
Maybe a little ‘heart-starter’ is in order before I hop on the train enroute to the horrors of shopping in Sydney.
Ooh la la, here is a more stylish version (both the model and the bag). French of course.
At the moment there is a movement to produce higher quality cask wines, with more interesting designs on the cardboard casks to compete with those increasingly eye-catching labels on bottled wines.
I’m not sure the Dapto Briefcase has achieved Aussie icon status yet, but I think you will agree this one rivals the Big Banana and the like;