Wine Allowances into the UK

The rules on bringing alcohol into the UK from the EU are as follows. Each person can bring in 18 litres (24 bottles) of (still) wine; 42 litres of beer, 4 litres of spirits and liquors over 22% alcohol; 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine (e.g. port, sherry).  You can split this last allowance, for example you could bring 4.5 litres of fortified wine and 2 litres of spirits (both half of your allowance).

Bottles of top Bordeaux wines with 2 glasses
Bordeaux Wines. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Check the UK Government website here.

So it makes sense (now the booze cruise with unlimited alcohol is deal) to go for classier wines particularly when you can reclaim VAT. Two top wine shops in Calais have adopted an easy system to reclaim VAT on alcohol. For details see below.

Calais Vins

Calais Vins showing view from above of huge selection of bottles laid out in wooden racks and one man looking at them
Calais Vins

Of all the Calais wine shops, my preferred one is Calais Vins. Run by the knowledgeable Jérôme Pont, it’s always been popular with Brits. The staff speak English (pre- Brexit 20% of their customers were British), and are extremely helpful when it comes to tasting and choosing. Calais Vins also stocks a very good range of beers and sparkling wines at prices from the extremely modest to the skies. They stock those coveted appellations of Fleurie, Médoc, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Meursault, Chinon, Chablis, Pomerol and more. They also offer rare bottles from estates like Whispering Angel, Guigal, Jaboulet, Louis Latour, Joseph Drouhin, Grand Crus Chateau Talbot, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Domaine Trapet, Marcel Deiss and more. They also source many unusual small owner-run vineyards here.

There’s a Philippe Olivier cheese shop just outside for top French cheeses and a good bakery and snack bar.
Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun and French bank holidays 9.30am-6pm.
Zone Curie, Rue Gutenbert. Tel: 00 33 (0)3 21 46 40 40
Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm. Sun and French public holidays 10am-6pm. Easy and free parking in front of the shop.
Calais Vins is located just off the A16 motorway, exit at junction 44 to Calais St Pierre. A few minutes’ drive from the port of Calais and the Eurotunnel terminal.

Olivier Vins et Compagnie

Previously known as Franglais, Olivier Vins et Compagnie is run by Olivier Vermisse and has an impressive range of wines, sparkling wines and beers.
CD215, 62185 Fréthun. Tel: 00 33 (0)3 21 85 29 39
Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm Sun & French public holidays 10am-1pm. easy and free parking in front of the shop.
Olivier Vins is located off the A16 motorway, exit at junction 40 to Gare TGV. A few minutes’ drive from the Eurotunnel terminal and the port of Calais.

How to Claim Back VAT

They use two companies: Global Blue and Skiptax. So choose one of these and you should get your refund within 48 hours.

Global Blue: Collect your Tax Free Form from the store. Scan the bar code on the form at the kiosks located at the PABLO terminal in the Calais ferry port which is located in the main building after the customs. Or in the passenger building for Eurotunnel.

Skiptax: Download the free app and scan your passport. Shop and then scan your receipt. Scan the bar code generated by Skiptax at the departure terminal.

More about Calais

Guide to Calais – A Fabulous City
And whatever you do, don’t miss the Calais Dragon and his family!

Fast Facts

In Pas de Calais Department (62)
Hauts de France Region
38 km (24 miles) from the English Coast
Ferries to France

Tourist Office
12 Boulevard Clemenceau. Tel: +33 (0)321 96 62 40

Pas de Calais Department website

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