It’s that time of year when Melbourne’s Bar Liberty opens up its backyard for some fun summer drinking. It’s known as drinkwell., which is exactly what the owners want you to do there. It’s heaps more relaxed than inside – few beers on tap or in cans, a short, vaguely Middle Eastern menu (think falafel wraps and hummus – read more below) and, this year… FANCY GOON BAGS! Just three wines are available (red, white and pink) and each is packaged in 500ml bags. Think of all the “getting on the bag” jokes you could be making this season.

We went on opening night (Friday 10 Nov) and pretty easily put away five bags between three of us. Don’t judge, it’s easy to do. It was a resounding (swaying) two thumbs up from us.

Here’s more from one of its owners, Banjo Harris-Plane.

What wines are you pouring at Drinkwell this summer?
WHITE: Cabernet Franc Blanc by Gilles Lapalus (a white wine made from red grape Cabernet Franc)
ROSE: Storage by Patrick Sullivan (a blend of skin contact Moscato Giallo, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon)
RED: MONO by Owen Latta (A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Viognier)

All Victorian, all made by leading winemakers, from organic or very low input fruit. All delicious. 

Are they all served in goon bags?
Yep!

Why goon bags? Where did this idea come from?
a) Why not goon bags?!
b) Because you’re sitting in a courtyard in summer in Australia… 

Can’t remember exactly where the idea originated, but we’ve wanted to do high quality goons for a while…

It is obviously hilarious, but is it practical? Can they be refilled, or are they single use?
They are very practical – less storage space, ease of service, environmentally bonza (see below). They are refillable (once they’ve been washed thoroughly!)

In terms of wine trends, is this the next big thing, or just a bit of fun? Wine in a can never really took off, hey… could it, still?
Lots of places are now doing this in Aus, either wine on tap or in a bag – we’ll only see more of it. It’s better for the environment (no paper wasted in printing labels, no energy used in filling bottles and attaching caps or corks) and easier to transport.

Wine in a can will also have its moment. A few people are doing it already and there’ll be more to come. 

How quickly will you get sick of “bag” jokes, do you think?
We reckon about two weeks, tops… mostly because everyone who makes them acts like it was their idea. 

Perfect food to match those goon bags?
Chef Casey Wall: We took inspiration from Kekabylon (our first birthday party), which was heaps of fun and a good way to use up all the amazing produce we get from our two farms, Somerset Heritage Produce and Ramarro Farms. It is no secret that we all love falafels at Liberty and we are always trying to eat more vegetables in our daily lives, so to put them on the menu at drinkwell. made sense.

But, what we’re doing is very different to other falafel shops around Melbourne. We haven’t just opened up an Ottolenghi cookbook and started cooking out of it. The salads and vegetable dishes aren’t really rooted in the Middle East, because, well, we aren’t in the Middle East. There is no ‘Israeli Salad’ on everything because, well, tomatoes suck at the moment. 

We make our flatbreads in house with out sourdough culture. We are using Australian chickpeas in the falafel and hummus. And everything else is basically from one of the two aforementioned farms!

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