Saturday, October 03, 2015

For the lexicon

We don't always recall when we first heard a new word, so I am putting this new term on the record. I first saw it in print a couple of days ago in this blog post at Fitzroyality.

Then lo and behold, I heard the same term on the radio the next day. Am I always the last to know? I don't get out much.

The word? Gooniebag. It refers to the bladder inside a wine cask. Some of you foreign overseas types may not be familiar with wine casks but Australians of my age know them well enough. Some of us have moved on from casks but I have a good reason for not doing so. While I do at times drink bottled wine, an excess of bottled wine causes me allergy problems. There is something in bottled wine that does not seem to be in cask wine, so at home I drink cask wine. Some of you may know it as a bag in a box wine or just box wine.

You are never going to get good wine in a gooniebag but some of it is quite drinkable. It can be incredibly cheap and can be had for at its cheapest and worst for perhaps $15 for four litres. If you still don't quite get what a gooniebag is, here is a photo from Wikipedia. For better or worse, it is an Australian invention, fifty years ago in the state of South Australia.


In some circles the cask has replaced Bex Powders as the house wife's friend, leading to mothers collecting their children from school and then being pulled over by the police and found to be driving over the alcohol limit. They are also a cheap way for teenagers to get drunk and at their price, very cheap alcohol for our indigenous to buy. The gooniebag might be an Australian invention, but I am not sure that it is too much to our credit.

37 comments:

  1. Andrew, I am allergic to botlle wines too.I have seriuos headache so I prefer beer or vodka

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    1. Gosia, as long as it is not too much vodka, or you will get a headache later.

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  2. We always called it a "goonbag", or sometimes a "Darwin handbag"!

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    1. Rob, I did think it might be an NSW expression. Love 'Darwin handbag'.

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  3. When we still drank alcohol, we often bought box wine. These days alcohol of any kind doesn't mix with the meds... I miss an occasional glass of wine with dinner.

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    1. Oh Jac, I find medication and alcohol mix extremely well together. Sorry, just kidding really, kind of. Highriser always urges responsible consumption of alcohol.

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  4. What a great name. Would love to think I might remember it and use it in the future.

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    1. Marie, just not when you are invited to the Queen's garden party.

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  5. Ironically - given that I am not a drinker - I have heard the term used previously.

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    1. Victor, as I said above, it may well be a term invented in NSW or from further north.

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  6. Perhaps it is a regional term that has just made it to the cities? Goon is cheap wine, but like you say some cask wine is very drinkable. I drink very rarely these days so usually buy bottled wine when I do have a special occasion. But the convenience of having a cask in the fridge was the attraction when I was younger. And yay for another great Aussie invention!

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    1. Carol, I haven't hear of goon as wine either. A couple of lots of English visitors to The Highrise were very impressed with cask wine.

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  7. I have allergy problems to wine too, figured its the fermentation yeast, or molds. I'm not much of a drinker anyway, but maybe I'll try the boxed wine and see if that makes a difference.

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    1. Strayer, it doesn't make much sense to me, but it seems to be the case. Someone suggested there is much less sulphur in cask wine.

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  8. We have a sculpture in town which is widely known (for good reason) as the goonbag.
    Cask wine has come a long way from the vino collapso I consumed as a young thing.

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    1. EC, do take a photo of the sculpture if you happen to be nearby one day. Cask wine back then could give you killer headaches.

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    2. I have a photo - and will add it to tomorrow's Sunday Selections.

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  9. Many people prefer cask wine Andrew. I buy bottled wine sometimes and had to up north as cask wine is NOT sold in heaps of places.

    The meaning of Goonie Bag is firstly a 'Noun, The plastic bag that contains the dirt cheap wine within the box wine. Usually comes in 3 to 5 liter pouche'

    I have never heard of the term before.

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    1. Margaret I only really explained why I drink cask wine so that I did not sound too common. I would probably drink it anyway. It is annoying when travelling and you can't get your favourite cask.

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  10. Words are only invented if there is a new thing, or even a concept, and there is no existing word to describe it.

    eg1 Pluto has been kicked off the list of planets, but it isn't a star or moon. So some smart person came up with the term Dwarf Planet.

    eg2 Stockings used to come half way up the thigh, held up by suspenders. Then they went up to the waist and didn't need suspenders any longer, So someone thought of the word Pantyhose.

    I like new words for new objects. I do NOT like new words when perfectly fine words already exist for an object. So until a rubbish bin changes, it has to remain a rubbish bin. Not a "trash" (slang word) "can" (a tin can is for baked beans).

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    1. eg2, problem solved by calling them all 'hose'.

      I agree with you. A lot of change in our lives is change for the sake of change, not change for the better.

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  11. I loved those silver goonbags as a kid, forever blowing them up and kicking them about!

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    1. Fen, kind of connecting, we went to a party in the Dandenongs and the hosts told us to find the place by the goonbags hung on the trees in front of the house. Sure enough, we found the house with the goonbags in in the trees.

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  12. I grew up with goonbags in Adelaide. :) Given that I recently turned 40, I am going to answer your question "Am I always the last to know" with a resounding YES. :)

    Goonbag wine is the kind I like to cook with - I do not drink wine at all, but I love to cook with it. In particular Banrock Station wine which is very flavourful. I use the Cabernet Merlot for red and Cabernet Sauvignon for the white.

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    1. Bannock Station, Snoskred? That is the poshest of goonie bags. While I am sure your cooking is delicious, wouldn't Lindemans do?

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  13. I'm not so sure it's only known in Australia, as I spotted this in Sweden a couple of years ago

    http://jamesobrien.id.au/?attachment_id=52017

    https://jamescharlesobrien.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/aussiewine.jpg

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    1. James, packaging like I have never seen before. An exotic wine for the Swedes, it seems, and no sign of a kangaroo.

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  14. Evidently those bags are very handy for camping trips when filled with water.

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    1. Ad Rad, I am ok with getting liquid out of them, but I would struggle to get liquid in. Ah, as River says, you buy them filled.

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  15. I'm not a drinker of alcohol, so my "gooniebags" are filled with spring water, 10 litres for around $4, which refills quite a few of the 600 ml plastic bottles I have. Much cheaper than buying new filled bottles all the time. When I can't get any more out of the cask, I cut the corner off the bag and drain it into a bottle, usually about 300-400ml.

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    1. River, yes, Adelaide is a city where you need to buy your water retail for drinking. 40c per litre. Expensive compared to tap water but cheap compared to bottled water. Does Angel get tap water or cask water?

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  16. BiBs, Bag-in-Box, wines are becoming de rigeur here in France these days. I buy a lot of wine that way, and locals think nothing of serving it to guests. The wine quality is good, often the same wine as goes into the bottles (but not the higher-end stuff, of course). I get laughed at when I suggest that someone should invent a re-usable bag. I'm sure it would be a great ecological improvement. I'm not really handy at such things, however.

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    1. Really interesting and surprising Walt. They are usually associated with cheap wine here, but you certainly used to be able to get good wine in them too. Next thing you will be telling me is you get wine bottles with screw tops.

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    2. When I lived in South Australia's Riverland, it was fairly common for people to go to a winery with their own re-usable containers.

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    3. James, I have a memory of my father and stepmother doing that at Griffith.

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  17. I remember a few years ago at Sculpture by the Sea one of the entries was a ginormous gooniebag, was brilliantly photogenic :) Cheers Andrew!

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    1. That would be interesting, Grace. Chin chin.

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