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Calais Vins offers Brits free ferry trips to buy wine

French wine shops Calais Vins and Olivier Vins have partnered with P&O Ferries to offer British citizens free ferry trips across the English Channel to buy wine.

Calais Vins offers Brits free ferry trips to buy wine

The wine businesses and shipping company have teamed up to give away ferry trips from Dover to Calais.

British travellers hoping to take advantage of the offer are being asked to make a minimum pre-order of €300 (£257) to buy wine from Calais Vins and Olivier Vins. A pre-order of €700 comes with a three-day getaway, the companies have said.

Calais Vins has reported a significant uptick in British customers, despite changes to alcohol allowance brought on by Brexit.

UK residents were previously able to transport any amount of alcohol for personal consumption across the channel.

Post-Brexit, each adult can bring a maximum of 18 litres of still wine into the UK. Also permitted are an allowance of either four litres of spirits or nine litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or alcoholic drinks up to 22% ABV, although this allowance can be split. The allowance for beer is 42 litres.

These limitations, which came into force in 2021, forced UK wine retailer Majestic to close its two Calais stores, as changes to the duty-free alcohol allowance weighed heavily on the economics of the business.

The two stores are understood to have raked in £10m in annual sales prior to Brexit and the onset of Coronavirus. They are also said to have contributed £1m to the retailer’s bottom line.

Despite Brexit challenges, Calais Vins saw a 57% increase in British customers from 2022 to 2023. The retailer attributed the surge to an entirely separate factor — a 9.6% rise in alcohol prices in the UK.

Calais Vins offers Brits free ferry to buy wine

Jérôme Pont of Calais Vins said: “Our British clientele understands the value of purchasing wine from us. They seek more than just cheap booze; they recognise that, by coming here, they can find top-quality wines ranging from €10 to €25.”

As previously reported by the drinks business, P&O Ferries came under fire in 2022 it dismissed 784 of its crew and replaced them with cheaper agency staff, some of which are being paid less than minimum wage. Following the information coming to light, transport unions called for both commercial and consumer boycotts of the company, resulting in its freight ships carrying just 19% of their capacity one week in May 2022, transporting an average of 34 lorries per journey.

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