Weddings and Parties

Save hundreds of pounds on your wedding or big event

Booze tax – the facts

Every time you buy a bottle of wine in the UK, the government rakes in around £2 from you in ‘duty’ (= tax). With Champagne and sparkling wines, it’s even higher – over £2.50. Then the Chancellor hits you for 20% VAT on the duty, as well as on the wine. So now you’re talking about £2.50 to £3 a bottle. Ouch.

In France, you pay less than 3 pence a bottle in duty. So you should save at least £2.50 a bottle by collecting in France, or £3 on fizz. What’s more, there’s no limit to how much you can bring back, provided it’s for your own use (which includes weddings, parties and gifts).

Which means it’s even worth popping over just to collect your yearly supply.

How we can help you…

You can purchase wines from our warehouse in France at wholesale prices, with no UK duty to pay. Then we will get it sent to our collection point in Calais for you to collect.

How to get going…

1 Have a read through our guide to choosing your wine (below). Get in touch via our contact page so we can confirm the process, how many bottles will you need, which wines to go for, etc.

2 Order a tasting case (or just a bottle or two), and try our wines at home with family and friends. We’ll refund some or all of it when you order the wedding wine – see below.

3  Like what you tried? Get in touch to place your order (paying by debit or credit card) and let us know when you can come to France to collect.

4 We’ll email you to confirm the order, along with a map and directions to our collection point in Calais (10 mins from tunnel and ferry). We’ve got a list of nice restaurants for lunch, too.

5 Book your crossing, check your passport is valid – et voila!

Tips for choosing your wine…

Keep it simple: look for wines that are not too heavy or alcoholic, wines that can be drunk with or without food, wines that have a broad appeal.

Prosecco and other sparkling wines, such as Crémant, offer an excellent alternative to Champagne at a much lower cost. To make things special, you could even drop in some Crème de Cassis or peach schnaps/purée and serve Kir Royales or Peach Bellinis at the reception.

In general, light crisp whites such as Sauvignon Blanc will go best with fish and most starters (and are popular). Soft, medium-bodied reds made with well-known grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah/Shiraz will be ideal for most meats. Chicken is great with Chardonnay.

Don’t go for too many different wines: one white (or rosé) and one red is all you need for the meal. You might decide to take Prosecco/Crémant for the reception, with Champagne only for the toast – it’s a good way to control costs.

How much wine do we need?

How many people are you expecting? Do you have different numbers coming for a reception, meal and evening? In general, estimate approx 3 glasses of fizz per head for pre-meal reception, 1 glass per head for the toast.

Then approx ½ to ⅔ a bottle of white (or rosé) and ½ to ⅔ a bottle of red per head for the meal/evening. It depends a bit on the people you have invited – you know them best!

We’re not trying to encourage reckless excess, but you don’t ever want to run out at the big event (and it’s no great hardship to have a few leftover bottles), so round things up by a case or two at the end – especially if you’re planning to keep the wine flowing throughout the evening.

Anything else we need to know?

If your venue offers their own wine list, ask about corkage fees for bringing in your own wine. Then negotiate hard to bring the price down as close to £5 (or below) as you can get it. Remember, a venue won’t want to lose your business just over the wine, so hold your ground.

Invite a few close friends or family members to a tasting at home to pick your wedding wines. It’s a fun way to involve a few more people in the wedding preparation.

Remember to keep a bottle back for your first year anniversary, if the wine is for a wedding.


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We are Thirsty

Carefully chosen, great value wines and craft beers.
Based in Cambridge; shipping all over the UK