Moving to France - WS Export service

Hi All
I have recently been offered a move to Paris with my work, leaving around the end of the year, hopefully before brexit. This will likely be for a few years. I am therefore wondering what to do with my wine collection.

I have about 80 bottles at home, and another 140 in storage with the wine society (of which maybe 50 or 60 is still in bond). These amounts will decrease between now and the move date :sweat_smile:. Some of the ones with longer drinking dates I might leave for now.
I contacted member services last week but I’m still waiting for a call back from the export team.

The Douanes Française website is pretty rubbish, and I haven’t interrogated removal firms yet, but I’m wondering if anyone on here has experience of moving wine TO France and/or using WS Export services (I’m sure there’s plenty of moving wine from France…).

More exactly :

  • Do you always have to physically accompany the wine to avoid duty/taxes?
  • Are there taxes due with wine taken by a removal firm as part of a move ? Is there a limit on the number of bottles ? (90per person into the UK I believe)
  • Will I have to pay taxes on the duty paid wine shipped by the Wine Society directly? Are there other fees?
  • Am I better off taking delivery of my duty paid wines now and just get the Wine Society to ship the In Bond ones?
  • Will brexit make any difference to the shipping of in Bond wines if they were shipped after the 31st of December?



Hi @HamishC - I was in a similar situation myself about 18 months ago when I moved to the EU (Sweden in my case rather than France), and a number of the queries you have were shared by me when I moved. I’ll add my experience here and hopefully some of it will be useful!

Prior to my move I had a similar quantity of wine to consider. The stuff that was in my physical possession or duty paid in TWS was relatively straightforward in the end. I found it difficult to find info to help but the destination country’s customs agency will have the forms you need - it’s probably just a question of asking Google the right question worded in the right way! Once you have a shipping company lined up they will also have dealt with this sort of thing countless times and be able to help.

In the case of Sweden, and I imagine the rules across Europe will be similar, all of the wine could be shipped with the rest of my possessions but needs to be accompanied by a form detailing what was in the consignment - and I was also advised to provide as many purchase records as possible with evidence that the wine was duty paid etc. This form then accompanied the removal company in case they were stopped at customs. In my case nobody checked, but all paperwork was in order just in case. I did not physically accompany my wine (nervous times!) and nor were there taxes due as all of the wine was duty and VAT paid in the EU.

The rest of my wine was either bonded (very small quantity) or still awaiting delivery from earlier EP campaigns. For those bottles I effectively waited for them to arrive or slowly mature and my plan is to periodically collect them myself from the UK, as I plan to drive to the UK once in a while for holidays etc. In those instances I will either arrange for wines to be duty paid and delivered to somewhere convenient or arrange collection myself as I pass by Stevenage. COVID allowing I will probably make one of those trips prior to the end of this year and the forthcoming B-word shambles. That is a journey which is easier from Paris than it is Sweden :smiley:

After the end of the year I will still have wines arriving in TWS from EP offers, or occasional cases that catch my eye and warrant a period of rest in reserves. If wine allowances become super restricted (which I don’t think is in anyone’s interest) then I will look into arranging for TWS to ship those but that is not very economical and will probably lead me to buying less from TWS. I hope common sense prevails and I’ll continue to be able to move reasonable quantities around for personal consumption.

I have never considered moving in-bond wines from one country to another and retaining them in-bond. Given differing local duty rates I think that might be tricky, but as I said it’s not something I considered doing.

Hope that helps! Happy to chat about the joys of living and working in the EU :wink:

Good luck with your move!


Hi. I was in a similar position to you but have just returned to the UK after 3 1/2 years in Argentina. I was unable to take wine to Argentina and the good old days when HMRC allowed you to ship a cellar back to UK as part of your personal allowance are long gone. So:

  • I took a few wines of my collection out every time I did a business trip;
  • I enjoyed exploring wines that were not available in the U.K. whilst away.
  • I brought some excellent Argentine and Uruguayan back with me every time I came back to the UK. I was able to develop a small South American cellar as a result.
  • I continued to purchase EP wines that I could not obtain in country from TWS to make sure that I had selection of wines to start enjoying on my return.

Thank you both for you answers. Very interesting.

Welcome back to the UK @Robin63. I’m certainly not worried about finding wine out there… It must have been quite frustrating not being able to bring back a larger collection. But I’m guessing you also get a greater variety of wine available in the UK no?

@Alchemist If even Sweden lets you bring in wine, then I’m hoping France does too!
It remains to be seen what cross border allowances are allowed in after Brexit. French customs is currently suggesting that the Ex-EU limit of 4l of wine will apply to travelers from the UK from the end of the year. Not enough to bring a half-case back, let alone 12 bottles withdrawn from reserves… We might need to find people we can trust to look after the ones we have to leave behind (without drinking them)!


Hi Hamish. Yes, I was very lucky to bring back a variety of wines and over the 3 years was able to gather about 60 bottles. With trips back from France, I suspect you will be able to bring a few more back!

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Hi @HamishC having imported wine into the UK on moves home and export to Holland on a relocation in the 90’s we have found this not to be a problem provided the items are duty paid, quantity was not excessive and can be deemed for personal consumption. So a variety drives this point of understanding and additionally the quantity in most cases was never more than 12 cases of 12 or 6 bottles.

Additionally we always provided a clear, concise list for the forwarders purposes and the wine cleared though formalities with no interruptions.

I know you are going the other way but EU /French rules whilst not uniform will have some similarity, especially if you are moving duty paid goods. Ideally you might want to get this done before 31/12 to avoid possible rule changes which are still not clear.

The movement of in bonded /duty free items is very complex and my only thoughts are tread carefully and if the move is not forever possibly leave at home until a later date.

What a great opportunity and you can buy in France and bring back well priced parcels for the future!


@HamishC we can always swap some of my wine stored in France with some of your wine still in the UK :joy:

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Good advice. I’ll print out the cellartracker lists and WS receipts.

A friend here has offered to buy my cellar so i can start a new one in France but I feel too much effort has gone into it to get rid of it.:sweat_smile:

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