A 4-litre cask of Australian white wine

Boxed wine (cask wine) is wine packaged in a bag-in-box. Contained in a plastic bladder, typically with an air-tight valve emerging from a protective corrugated fiberboard box. It serves as an alternative to the traditional wine bottling in glass with a cork or synthetic seal.


The process for packaging 'cask wine' (boxed wine) was invented by Thomas Angove, a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia, and patented[citation needed] by his company on April 20, 1965.[1] Polyethylene bladders of one 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[2] and was based on a product already on the market, which was a bag in a box used by mechanics to hold and transport battery acid.[3]

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 flagons, which served a similar market.

In Australia, due to the difference in how wine is taxed compared to other alcoholic beverages,[4][5][6] boxed wine is often the cheapest form of drinkable alcohol.[7] A 4-litre cask of at least 9.5% alcohol can often be found for around A$10.[8] These attributes have led to boxed wine being widely available throughout Australia and holding a prominent place in Australian pop culture.[9][10]

"Bag-in-box" packaging is used for boxed wine as well as other drinks

During the mid-1970s, the bag in box packaging concept expanded to other beverages including spring waters, orange juices, and wine coolers. Today, however, wine and spring water are the main two beverages packed into these bags.[citation needed]

In 2003, California Central Coast AVA based Black Box Wines introduced mass premium wines in a box.[citation needed] Within the decade, premium wineries and bottlers began packaging their own high-quality boxed wine.[citation needed] This coupled with an increased cultural interest in environmentally sustainable packaging has cultivated growing popularity with affluent wine consumers.[11]


The Scandinavian state institutions Systembolaget and Vinmonopolet analysed the environmental impact of various wine packagings in 2010. Bag-in-Box packaging was found to leave only between 12 and 29% of the carbon footprint of bottled wine and also to be superior by every other ecological criterion.[12]

Bag-in-box packaging is less expensive and lighter than glass-bottled wine.

Tyler Colman from New York Times opined that it is more environmentally friendly than bottled wine [11] as well as being easier to transport and store. Typical bag-in-box containers hold one and a half to four 750 ml bottles of wine per box, though they come in a wide variety of volumes.[citation needed]

The fact that wine is removed from the flexible bag without adding air to fill the vacated space 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.[13]

Wine contained in plastic bladders is not intended for cellaring and should be consumed within the manufacturer printed shelf life. Deterioration may be noticeable by 12 months after filling.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Crystal Ja; AAP reporters (13 September 2009). "Eclectic mix honoured on Australia Day". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Wine cask". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Who Invented The Wine Cask (Goon Box)?". Good Goon Guide. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  4. ^ Office, Australian Taxation. "Wine equalisation tax". www.ato.gov.au. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  5. ^ Office, Australian Taxation. "Excise rates for alcohol". www.ato.gov.au. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  6. ^ "The goon show: How the tax system works to subsidise cheap wine and alcohol consumption". The Australia Institute. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  7. ^ "r/australia - What are the best options for Cheap Alcohol in australia?". reddit. 26 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Sonata Estate Fresh Dry White Cask 4L". www.danmurphys.com.au. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  9. ^ "We Asked Australia's Best Sommelier to Find the Nicest, Cheapest Goon". www.vice.com. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  10. ^ Prestipino, David (21 August 2014). "Yeah, we went there: road testing five Australian cask red wines". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  11. ^ a b Colman, Tyler, Drink Outside the Box; The New York Times (August 17, 2008).
  12. ^ Nordic LCA Wine Package Study – Final Report (PDF), Systembolaget and Vinmonopolet, August 2010, retrieved 4 August 2021
  13. ^ Lonvaud-Funel, A. (1999). "Lactic acid bacteria in the quality improvement and depreciation of wine". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. Konings W.N., Kuipers O.P., In ’t Veld J.H.J.H. (eds) Lactic Acid Bacteria: Genetics, Metabolism and Applications. Springer, Dordrecht. 76 (1–4): 317–331. doi:10.1023/A:1002088931106. PMID 10532386. S2CID 30267659.
  14. ^ The Oxford Companion to Wine. "boxes, wine". winepros.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008.