The ubiquitous wine cask was invented by Mr Thomas Angrove, and patented in  1965. As you may know, Thomas was an Aussie; a wine maker from Renmark in South Australia. His original version was fairly rudimentary. It was simply 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.

Mr Thomas Angove
Thomas Angove,

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

Wine in a bag bladder,
The innards exposed..

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.

Wine cask reveller
Oh dear me!

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 old folk and  teenagers the main clientele.  The situation called for some clever marketing. Oh yes, let’s tap into the lucrative, ladies market!  👠 ❤


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.

Wine box handbag
There’s more than one for the road in here!

Maybe a little ‘heart-starter’  is in order before I hop on the train enroute to  the horrors of shopping in Sydney.

Wine in a box for the ladies
Courage Pauline….you can do it.

Ooh la la, here is a more stylish  version (both the model and the bag). French of course. Perfect  for the races, especially Cup Day.  

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.

Wine cask

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;

UPDATE MAY 2023 – I was watching a Finnish TV serial the other day, and there was the main character drinking cask wine for Christmas dinner!

The wine cask features on Finnish TV.

Dear readers, may I conclude by referring you to the serving of Aussie alcohol at the other end of the scale……COCKTAILS!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.