Tuesday, February 24, 2015
An iconic Australian invention turns 50 this year and wine consumers are being invited to raise a glass to the cask.
The simple yet ingenious concept dominated Australia’s wine discovery in the ‘70s, spread around the world and still pours one in every three glasses in Australia.
Now as the softpack hits its fifties it is developing a more sophisticated face with modern incarnations featuring emerging varieties such as Tempranillo and Pinot Grigio and sourced from premium regions such as McLaren Vale, Margaret River, Barossa and Marlborough.
What started as some tinkering by South Australian winemaker Tom Angove in the early 1960s, when he needed a more versatile way to carry his precious drop, is now an Australian success story used all over the world.
While who first came up with the cask design is widely debated, one thing is certain – Mr Angove created the first wine in a box with patent #280826 issued on April 20, 1965.
In its infancy, a clothes peg was used to seal the contents and prevent spillage, yet still allow the wine to be poured out of the container without exposing it to air.
Mr Angove’s son John, Managing Director and Chairman of Angove Family Winemakers, said he recalled his father talking about creating “wine in a box”.
“I was a teenager and I told him it wouldn’t work – that no-one would want to buy wine in a box. He was always a creative thinker, so I’m glad he didn’t listen to me and kept on with his designs,” Mr Angove said.
“Without his work in the 1960s, our industry wouldn’t be as diverse and creative as it is today.”
Conscious of the 60,000 jobs in Australia's wine producing regions that rely on a healthy, sustainable Australian cask wine industry – particularly the Riverland, Sunraysia and Riverina where many of the cask wine varietals have been grown by families for generations – leading winemakers Accolade Wines, DeBortoli and Yalumba will recognise the milestone during 2015, including a 50th birthday event to be held in Sydney on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
The event also kicks off the “Ask for Cask” campaign, including a specially created video which highlights the unique place cask wine has had in Australia over the past 50 years.
Throughout the year, winemakers will launch new products to celebrate this Australian icon and remind wine lovers that there is a lot to like about cask. With new products in the market, winemakers are excited about the potential growth in the category.
“Many of the same benefits of the cask apply today as they did in 1965 when Tom Angove invented it. It’s well suited for many social occasions,” according to industry expert and Australian Grape and Wine Authority chair Brian Walsh, who leads Australia’s statutory wine marketing and research authority.
“It offers good value, is kind to the environment, easy to transport and convenient when you only want a glass or two and not a whole bottle. It’s been a part of our culture for 50 years and now Australia is getting ready to celebrate its significant contribution to the growth of the wine sector in this country.”
Mr Walsh said cask wine was part of the foundation of the wine community and is widely embraced in most significant global wine markets such as in France, Canada, Japan, Scandinavia, USA and the UK.
“It is now being used as a way to offer an opportunity to trial premium wine products which are so central to the reputation and quality standing of the Australian wine industry,” he said.
“It is an efficient way of making quality wine accessible to a wide range of consumers, providing a convenient and affordable opportunity to try new styles and varieties which is all part of the diverse landscape of our remarkable wine industry.”