Box wine

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A 4 litre cask of Australian white wine

A box wine (or boxed wine[citation needed], goon,[1] goon bag, cask wine[2]) is wine packaged in a bag-in-box. Wine is contained in a plastic bladder typically with an air-tight valve emerging from a protective corrugated fiberboard box. It serves as an alternative to traditional wine bottling in glass with a cork or synthetic seal.


The process for packaging 'cask wine' (box wine) was invented by Thomas Angove of Angove's, a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia, and patented by the company on April 20, 1965.[3] Polyethelene bladders of 1 gallon (4.5 litres) were placed in corrugated boxes for retail sale. The original design required that the consumer cut the corner off the bladder, pour out the serving of wine and then reseal it with a special peg.[4]

In 1967 Australian inventor Charles Malpas and Penfolds Wines patented a plastic, air-tight tap welded to a metallised bladder, making storage more convenient. All modern wine casks now use some sort of plastic tap, which is exposed by tearing away a perforated panel on the box. For the next decades bag in a box packaging was primarily preferred by producers of less expensive wines as it is cheaper to fabricate and distribute than glass bottles.

In 2003 California Central Coast AVA-based Black Box Wines introduced mass premium wines in a box, which served to overturn the stereotype that box wines are an alternate packing on inexpensive jug wine. Within the decade premium wineries and bottlers began packaging their own high-quality boxed wine, including French rabbit, Bandit Wines, Octavin, Target, and hundreds of others. This coupled with an increased cultural interest in environmentally sustainable packaging has cultivated growing popularity with affluent wine consumers.[5]


Bag-in-box packaging is less expensive, lighter and more environmentally friendly than glass-bottled wine,[5] as well as being easier to transport and store. Typical bag-in-box containers hold 1.5-4 750ml bottles of wine per box, though come a wide variety of volumes. The tap utilised by bag-in-box packaging greatly reduces oxidation of the wine during dispensing. Compared to wine in a bottle which should be consumed within hours or days of opening, bag-in-box wine is not subject to cork taint and will not spoil for approximately 3–4 weeks after breaking the seal.[citation needed]

Wine contained in plastic bladders are not intended for cellaring and should be consumed within the manufacturer printed shelf life. Deterioration may be noticeable by 12 months after filling.[6]

Slap the bag[edit]

Slap the Bag, also known as Slapping the Bag, Slapping the Baby, Wine Slaps, Slap the Goon, or Bag-o' is an event that involves the drinking of bagged wine, in a group setting, accompanied by a ceremonial hitting of the bag of wine.[7]

First, the participants acquire a bag of wine, or boxed wine and remove the bag from the box. One participant holds the bag at their eye level, while another bends down or kneels in front of the spigot. Next, the bag-holder then opens the spigot while the drinker chugs as much of the wine as possible. Once they have reached their limit, they slap the side of the bag as forcefully as possible to indicate to the bag-holder that the spigot should be closed.[7]

The believed original object of the game was to attempt to slap the bag so hard that the person holding it (other team) would lose their grip and the bag would go sliding across the pavement. Each failed attempt of knocking the bag loose would be followed by taking a long drink directly from the spigot for however long seemed suitable.

Another variation allows for the drinker to manage the spigot him/herself and slap the bag as a ceremonial finish.[8] Then, the bag is passed on to the next participant, and the procedure repeats until either the players are done drinking or the wine is depleted. Another variation can involve timing the drinkers to see who can chug the wine the longest thus allowing there to be a ‘winner’.[9]

A different variation has also emerged, in which participants give the bag a ceremonial slap prior to drinking from the spigot. Said slapper then in turn holds the bag for the next participant. The process is repeated until the bag is finished or the participants' intoxication has reached unmanageable levels.

Commonly seen as an alternative to a Keg stand, groups will each take turns seeing who can drink from the wine bag for the longest amount of time. Often, participants stand in a circle passing it around, each slapping the bag before they turn the spigot. College culture has adapted to low cost brands; Franzia or Vella since it is cheaper than a keg and more effective when binge drinking.

The Tour de Franzia[10] is a drinking game that revolves around a bag of wine and watching the Tour de France. Players form groups of four and must finish their own box of wine throughout the different stages. Your team receives points for finishing each stage the fastest.

Originating with Australian backpackers, Slap the Goon was created for on-the-go drinking. Bagged wine is one of the cheaper alcohols one can purchase in Australia. It is also easy to carry and environmentally friendly. The downside to Goon bags is the expiration in comparison to a bottled wine.

This phenomenon has resulted in themed parties and Halloween costumes.


Manufacturers of 'higher class' bottled wines[who?] have complained about the cheapness of 'cask' wines, arguing that they provide a cheap means for alcoholics to become inebriated. In particular, the lower level of alcohol excise levied on cask wine in Australia (compared to beer and bottled wine) has been criticised as encouraging binge drinking. There is also no visible indication, as with a bottle, of the quantity which is being consumed.[citation needed] Cask wine in Australia is colloquially referred to as "goon" which is a term derived from the word flagon meaning a large vessel used for drink[citation needed], or "boxy", in reference to its low price and high alcohol content.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McClintock, Alex (2 March 2015). "Happy birthday goon: cask wine turns 50". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Wine cask". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  3. ^ "Eclectic mix honoured on Australia Day". 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Wine cask". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  5. ^ a b Colman, Tyler, Drink Outside the Box The New York Times (August 17, 2008).
  6. ^ The Oxford Companion to Wine. "boxes, wine". 
  7. ^ a b “Interesting Use of Boxed Wine: Slap the Bag”, Fox News, December 7, 2011
  8. ^ “Slap the Bag”, 2006
  9. ^ “Slap the Bag”, Bar None Drinks
  10. ^ "Tour de Franzia". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  11. ^ "Drinking problem is lack of will on overall measures". Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-08-04.