In Australia, locals call cheap cask wine “goon.” It’s sold in disposable silver bags, aptly named “goon sacks.” Unlike a standard .75-liter bottle of wine, goon’s four-liter bag is inflatable. It’s fitting that in Australia, the birthplace of boxed wine, being resourceful with your goon sack is a popular pastime. Inspired drinkers have transformed empty vessels into pillows, rafts, and more.
Since cheap wine doesn’t age well, creative Aussies have devised a number of entertaining rituals for taking down a bag of goon in one go. During a game of “goon of fortune,” players pin a goon sack to a rotating clothesline. They spin the line, sit beneath it, and wait for the bag to stop. Whoever finds themselves under the sack takes a drink.
Another way to share goon is to perform a “goon layback.” This event is popular among college students. One person holds the sack while the rest lay on the floor with their feet against the wall—the more people, the better (some versions of layback involve a lone unfortunate drinker). The designated distributor pours goon into each participant’s mouth until receiving a signal to stop. As he moves to the next person, the most recent drinker runs to the end to get back in line. This continues until players give up or run out of space. Try and pull that off with a glass bottle of Bordeaux.
Why “goon”? Some suggest the name derives from “flagon,” a wine vessel dating back to the 15th century. Perhaps Australians were the first to invent goon sack games, but they certainly weren’t the first culture to have a little fun with their wine.