Scoffer Magazine: Wine in a box you say?
Wine in a box you say? Hey Tomorrow changing things up.
There's an old line about everything old being new again - and I didn't think I'd ever say this but the goon sack is back... and it seems with a vengeance. Long gone are the days of the Coolabah Cask and a pack of Wills Super Mild to get one through a Friday night.
There are a couple of interesting new players in this field, including my old mate Myf Warhurst who has her own wine in a bag type arrangement, The Lonely Lady - a partnership with Happy Sack, is available at Blackhearts and Sparrows outlets. I secretly know Myf will be super chuffed with her mug on a bag of goon. And it's a decent quality wine, to be fair.
Another young player in the market, targeting the low budget under 25's is Gooné who entered the market in 2020 targeting the youth sector who want affordable wine without the pretension and wankery, and they want it on tap. It's an interesting demographic, bypassing the RTD market and don't want to drop their hard earned's on craft beer at $8 a tin.
Serial entrepreneur in the food and booze space, Jesse Gerner (Bomba, Anada et al) has joined forces with some of his talented team of wine folk - Sacha Imrie, Shane Barrett, Kelly O'Loghlen and Andrew Fisk, to answer one of the great challenges of our time. Can we have great quality wine in a bag and box? They are collectively frustrated with Australia's inefficient recycling processes, and decided one rainy Melbourne night, the answer was there in the great Australian invention of Thomas Angove in 1965 - the cask.
Now this is no rubbish old Christmas plonk in the back of the drinks fridge under great aunt Joan's sleep-out. The wine comes from a number of different regions and some of the smartest wine makers going around - such as Heathcote Syrah from Adam Foster's Syrahmi, a Light Red from the Koerner Brothers (read previous reviews here), Valentine Wines Rose (see review here) to name a few. The quality of product is at the top of the game, but how does it go in a spinsters handbag you ask? It goes very well. Crap wine in a bottle is still crap wine. Good wine in a cask is still really bloody good wine.
The joys are many: an improved environmental impact with 8x less carbon footprint than bottled wine; convenience; affordability (thanks to less cost related to transport, bottling and all); and practicality. You can easily pick this up to take to a party, picnic or bbq, without having to lug 2-3 bottles in a supermarket shopping bag with the quiche or chocolate ripple cake.
We tried Ben Haines 2021 Riesling from Nagambie in Lakes, a sub region of the Goulburn Valley. Haines is another of this new vanguard, looking more suited to craft beer than wine, with his viking like red beard. He clearly has a thing for wines with incredible expression. Starting his wine making journey in the vineyard, Haines tries to express the very essence of place, but makes exciting wines with an intense curiosity. He did it at Mount Langi with a skin contact Riesling with great aplomb.
This riesling is wildly aromatic and floral but has a stunning acidity about it. Crisp tart green apple notes with loads of lime and citrus tang. There is a hint of jasmine and honeysuckle on the nose among the fruit, and this wine is made for the bag without the addition of sulphur (which in some can cause headaches, a tummy upset or even hives). It is a bright and lively drop of Riz, and at this price also represents incredible value.
The big question is, does the wine taste any different from the bag? It's fair to say, it is as good as if came from a bottle. If we all want to be more responsible, then Hey Tomorrow are perhaps giving us a fine opportunity. Naysayers and snobs may scoff at wine in 2L casks, but with all of the intent and the desired outcomes from having Chateau Cardboard back on the shelves, perhaps this is a quiet revolution we have been waiting for. Fair to say, I'm in.