Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Calais Vins partners with P&O Ferries to offer ‘free travel’

Published:  12 April, 2024

French wine retailers Calais Vins and Olivier Vins have partnered with P&O Ferries to offer free ferry crossings across the Channel for British consumers. 

The free journey is subject to a minimum spend (€300 for a day trip and reaching €700 for a three-day trip) with customers selecting their preferred wines online beforehand.

Travellers will need to pay a €60 deposit online by credit card (only charged if the order isn’t collected) and select their crossing date by ferry. The agreement also includes a 15% store-wide discount on wine.

It was thought that Brexit and subsequent changes in alcohol allowances would bring an end to the ‘booze cruise’. However, according to Calais Vins, British visitors to its stores went up by 57% in 2023 compared to 2022.

The surge coincides with the August 2023 alcohol duty hikes, the biggest the UK has seen in nearly fifty years, causing inflation for wines and spirits to rise from 3.5% in January 2023 to 9.6% in January 2024.

UK consumers currently pay £2.67 on duty for a bottle of 12.5% abv wine, compared to the French who pay just 3p equivalent a bottle irrespective of its strength.

“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,” said Jérôme Pont, owner of Calais Vins.

“We're thrilled to offer British travellers the opportunity to experience the beauty of France while enjoying fine wines and saving money.”

Olivier Vermisse, owner of Olivier Vins added: “With our exclusive offer, travellers can embark on a wine-fuelled adventure without worrying about travel expenses.”

Before Brexit, UK travellers to France were permitted to transport any amount of alcohol back to the UK, but new allowances that came into force in 2021 put an end to that.

UK adults are now only permitted to bring the following from France, provided they consume their purchases in the UK and are not EU residents:

  • 24 bottles of 75cl wine (equivalent to 18 litres)

  • 64 bottles of 75cl beer (equivalent to 42 litres)

  • 12 bottles of champagne or fortified wine (up to 22% alcohol)

  • 5 bottles of spirits or liqueurs (75cl each)