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COVID - What will change next?

From Gov website

“Paying duty on acquisitions from EUcountries

You do not have to pay duty on goods that have been produced in the EU. These goods are ‘in free circulation’ in all EU countries.

This also covers goods from outside the EU if duty has already been paid on them.”

What am I missing?

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Ah, I see the problem. I have always been referring to ALCOHOL duty. Your link is about IMPORT duty. I should have been more specific.

And here on the EU site

This website also suggests no extra alcohol duty, import duty or VAT to pay between EU countries, so long as the seller pays it locally, I haven’t come across any online wine merchants that ship wine the other EU countries where the buyer needs to pay additional taxes/duties. Obviously the exception if it’s sold in bond but sites like Decantalo are not there for in bond purchases.

Am I missing something, in 10 years of buying from overseers I’ve never had to pay additional costs from other EU countries.

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Or does the duty only kick in over a certain threshold for personal consumption?

I’m intrigued now as it’s never been an issue

Edit - bingo think this may be the answer

Import of wine

“If you are importing wine for personal consumption, you can bring in a certain amount without needing to pay an Excise duty. It is important to note that the limit for different alcohol types varies. For still wine, the first 90 litres you import is tax and duty free.“

So as long as I limit my next Decantalo order to less than 120 bottles of still it’s ok.

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That 90 litres will certainly go post Brexit. Currently the limit outside the EU is 4 litres.

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I’d expect so too, Decantalo will be busy before the end of the year!

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Sorry but that (the exemption) only applies for accompanied imports. It’s not an area where there is any ambiguity. Technically Vinissimus/Decantolo imports should be declared and duty and VAT paid. However Customs and Excise have not as far as I’m aware been taking folks to task for small quantities.


I think this might be the key bit. The EU (non-UK) seller must pay UK alcohol duty before it enters the UK. It is paid locally, but to the UK.

I think the UK is/was unique in the UK in this regard, and you can see why foreign merchants do not understand. It is explained better on gov.uk sites. I need to prepare some food now, but can show you later if needed.

I don’t believe we are unique; Finland has higher excise duty than us, Denmark and Sweden have slightly lower. Even France has a very low rate.

Just like to add another tick for Chateau Bauduc, and a couple of their mixed cases reside in ch. Lapin’s cellars (ok… the garage). They have two VERY clever USP’s: firstly they have a UK warehouse, so although the wine is made in France the order is serviced in the UK. and secondly Rick Stein buys their wines.

In the past I have bought direct from other French vineyards via their websites, but its a pain! French websites seem very clunky & shipping adds a lot to the price of a case. I so wish that more vineyards might group together & follow Bauduc’s model.


Norway not only cripples the price of wine, it’s also only available from the Government run off license! and if that’s not expensive enough, try Singapore (£35 for your average Beaujolais).


Possibly one of the longer term solutions post COVID and post Brexit

In Sweden too - the (now very much improved and lovely to shop in!) Systembolaget.

Decantolo among many others will ship to Sweden as well. The days of the “System” being the only option are long gone. Even TWS ships to Sweden!!


Non-Swedish merchants may well be shipping to Swedish consumers, but they are in violation of Swedish law. It is discussed here:

From listening to the complaints of Finns I am pretty sure the same applies to Finland, and know that is is true for Norway (which as part of the EEA has the same status for trade as an EU member state).

My contention was the the UK is unique in requiring duty to be paid by the seller before shipping to the UK from the EU. Sweden, Finland and Norways do not permit it at all, while other EU states are more easy-going. Now i might be wrong in this, as I have not checked every EU country recently, but I believe it to be true - in the sense that I remember reading about it somewhere and I know of no counter-examples

Regarding us distance-buying from EU merchants, the situation is explained here:

This is the bit about the seller paying UK duty:

Distance selling of excise goods

Distance selling takes place when a trader in the UK or EU member state supplies goods to a private individual in the UK or EU member state and the vendor (seller) is responsible, directly or indirectly, for delivery of the goods. Distance selling includes mail order and internet sales.

When excise goods are being supplied under distance selling arrangements, they must be taken from duty-paid stock. The vendor is liable to pay the excise duty and VAT in the UK, of the member state of destination at the time of delivery. The excise duty must be guaranteed to the satisfaction of the fiscal authority of destination before the goods are dispatched.

I agree that it sounds at odds with the EU ideal of frictionless trade, but somehow our wonderful government managed to negotiate this accommodation with the EU

Exactly. And maybe Vinissimus/Decantolo do pay their UK taxes, but I doubt it. Would you pay taxes to a foreign country if you thought you could keep your customers happy regardless?

And I neglected to mention that the rules are different if you accompany your wine into the UK.

Finland has the highest followed swiftly by the Irish republic ! My parents constantly ask me to send them wine but many merchants won’t do that purely because of the duty and vat! I regularly send them wine from Vinha.co.uk and every time I do I am warned that the wine wine could be impounded for further payment , they are willing to take that chance and to be fair we’ve been lucky so far and they’ve got away with it …

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Happily, one can directly compare Decantolo & TWS: Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2018, Dec @ £14.14 vs. TWS @ £12.95. obv. this is just one wine so perhaps an unfair comparison. I didn’t look at the add-on cost for delivery/ import.

HOWEVER Dec list 4 wines from Valtellina (Lombardy, Italy) compared to TWS zero. They either have a massive warehouse, or a good J.I.T. system. And I do like Valtellina Superiore, but not at those prices.

Ducking back to the original thread (COVID - what will change next?) - we face seasonal flu combined with cv19 this winter. The UK could face BOTH concurrently which is an awful scenario. Supply of wine might not be a primary concern. Getting some stock into the garage might be an idea…

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That’s my excuse right now!