You can save on average £1.50 on a bottle of wine and up to £10 on a bottle of champagne.
But keep the following in mind when shopping in France:
The duty on wine is based on the alcoholic content and it is the lack of British duty that makes the wines cheaper in France. The more expensive wines attract higher percentages of profit, leaving little room for savings - if any!
A good benchmark for a maximum spend on a bottle of wine in France is £10. If you wish to buy expensive wines then the UK retailers are a better bet. This is because prices at this level are comparable and if the wine is faulty it is easier to return.
The exception is non-vintage Champagne, which is double the price in the UK.
UK VAT is 17.5%
French VAT is 20.6%
The big cost difference is in the duty:
UK duty on a bottle of Champagne: £1.60
UK duty on a bottle of Sherry: £1.40
UK duty on a bottle of still wine: £1.44
French duty on any of the above: £0.04
A bottle of gin bought in the UK is 37.5% proof.
A bottle of gin bought in France is 47.5% proof.
The reason is purely a tax avoidance tactic by the producers. If gin sold in the UK had 47.5% proof, the tax on a 70cl bottle would be £6.50, instead of £5.13. A saving of £1.37!