Paying duty

I decided to pay the duty on my wine and move it into the duty paid reserves. I gave up doing it online anfter scrolling up and down for 30 cases, with many still to go. Phoned The Society and was told “no, we can’t do a global select, either”, but the nice lady said she would work her way through my list. If anyone from IT is reading this, you really need a “select all” button !


I agree wholeheartedly!

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I know everyone will have their own personal preferences and different values/volumes in reserves but I’m interested to know whether anyone has come up with any formulae or rules of thumb for themselves around how much (more than zero and less than everything) to move from IB to DP.

So far, I’ve paid to move 48 lower cost, earlier drinking bottles to DP reserves. I’m wondering whether I should go further, even if I’m not intending to drink the wines for at least, say, three years. But what sort of EP cost and drinking windows should be in the frame for being better to move to DP? I’d be interested in any views!

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Economics says no Government reduces duty over a sustainable period and inflation ameliorates any payment now by the time you drink. So I say pay and will try to do so for all my IB before 31/7


It makes sense to pay down lower value wines that will be drunk soon (to avoid any rise in the fixed fee) and let inflation erode the cost of paying the high value wines that may not be drunk for a while.

The VAT is payable on the original sale price of the wine, not its current market value. So delaying that allows it to be inflation eroded?


Inflation allows everything to be ameliorated. So my point is (a) build in an expectation that duty will go up not down, over a period of years; (b) paying “x” duty now means you’re really paying “x minus amelioration. That will be more (probably) over a long maturing wine, but probably also over the mid term.

I tend to a more philosophical approach to the question of paying duty early. Which is, if i pay this tax early/upfront then I’m giving the money to the government to invest. If I don’t pay it off early, that money is available for me to invest.

So it comes down to who do you think is going to achieve more with it. If you think you can beat the rate of duty rises then, for me, it makes more sense to only pay the duty incrementally when you remove wine.

I haven’t done any detailed maths to prove my theory (and it might be nonsense!), but instinctively it works for me.


The b is actually the other way around. You can either pay x of 2023 pounds, or x of pound’s value in the future, which is necessarily less than x of 2023 pounds due to inflation. Then there’s also real value return one could get on those x pounds…

I tend to think that for anything that is going to spend any length of time in reserves the cost of the storage will make any savings in the cost of the duty negligible. I’m fortunate that I have space for wine at home (a benefit of living in the Highlands; you get rather more house for the same money) So I don’t store in reserves as, for me, it will ultimately make the wine too expensive (again mainly for those that require 10+ years of storage). This despite TWS’s very reasonable storage prices. Consequently I always pay the duty and empty my reserves before my bill comes due.


Decided to bite the bullet (the whole magazine actually!) and pay the duty & VAT on all my In Bond wines. Painful, but they were bought to be drunk, not to be sold on, and the majority are sub-£25 bottles for early to medium-term drinking.

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I think you have it there, it depends what you would otherwise do with the available cash. Like you, I haven’t looked at the detail, but I think year 1 involves a bit of step jump in duty so if you were thinking of withdrawing within the next 12-18 months, it’s unlikely your cash would earn returns great enough to mitigate that extra cost. So pay it now. Over time, that equation turns more to using your cash and leaving the duty unpaid, assuming it is not jacked up again.

I have no reserves but I do intend to make a reasonably big buy before it goes up, especially for the higher alcohol wines. But then these will me largely for short- medium term drinking.


I did some rough calculations and, while there are lots of permutations given the duty will differ by ABV (especially from Feb 2025), as a rule of thumb:

  • take out anything to be drunk in 2024 unless it’s over £90/bottle
  • take out wines costing around £30-50 that you’ll be drinking in the next 4-5 years
  • take out nearly all cheaper wines (assume there aren’t many you’ll be cellaring for 10+ years)
  • properly expensive wines should probably be left IB, especially if you might want to sell them in the future

Nice one. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and calculations.

Where I’ve got stuck (because I’m too lazy/time-poor to work it out) is how much difference the duty on 15% ABV wines makes – putting aside the drinking window, if one decides to pay up for 14% wines costing x IB, then how much should x+1 be for 15% wines?

The 50% bottle is nearly here

Credit @GavinQuinney


I haven’t crunched the numbers for every vintage, in part because I don’t have much 15% wine, but I reckon the threshold below which one should pay duty on a 15% wine now rather than next year is about £230/bottle ib (vs £90 for something 11.5-14.5%).

Definitely pay for wines labelled 15%*
The difference between paying now and paying next month is £1.17/btl so I think this makes it worth it.
I’ve done it and it hurt :sob:

*15.5% is not as drastic of a jump as it’s already classified in the fortified bracket (15-22%)


So for the ignoramus here, am I right in thinking the August change is in bands, the charge by exact alcohol content is not until 2025?

So my need is to buy in some advance stocks of stuff like Moscatel which I enjoy, but leave the typical table wines for the moment? Not much I drink is below 11.5% or above 14.5%. Is the duty higher than it was on that latter band from August, if so by how much?

Sorry not followed the detail too much on this one…

I think 0.5% bands introduced below 11.5% and above 15% next month, with 11.5-14.5% staying as a single band (until next change)?

This is taken from an email I received today from another merchant (hope I’m not breaking any rules by posting it here, but I think the information is in the public domain):


You’re not wrong… very painful making unexpected payments for wine you’re not even going to drink particularly soon. Looking through all those Rhone 2019 and 2020s and seeing the ABVs at 15%… Aargh! :anguished:

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