UK wine pricing and tax

UK wine pricing and tax

Why is wine so much more expensive in the UK than in France ?

Perhaps surprisingly the transport from France is only a very small contributor to the extra cost in the UK.

The overwhelmingly large proportion of the difference is the HMRC import duty which is a whopping £2.60 per bottle including VAT.  If you buy wine in France for your own consumption and bring it back in your car then you don't pay this duty.  Interestingly HMRC and the French tax authorities take opposing views over whether the duty applies (and who gets the VAT) if you order from a vineyard's French website and have the wine shipped to you.  

The second largest but much smaller element is the warehousing costs in the UK.  This is very strictly controlled due to licencing laws so not something you can really do yourself and doesn't come cheap.

For most wines there is a significant distributor margin to add - often two layers of it. In our case we add no margin in the UK, only the costs of storage and delivery.

The current weakness of £ Sterling doesn't help matters right now either.

 A silver lining ?

A fixed tax amount per bottle benefits quality producers like us as the proportion of the cost you pay in tax goes down as the price (and hopefully the quality) goes up.  So on a £6 supermarket bottle of wine, perhaps £1 will go to the producer - most of which will pay for the bottle, label and cork !  There aren't many vineyards that can make great wine for 25p per bottle !