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Blog: Case for 6-bottle Case of DF Wine at Arrival

Posted: Friday, 02 September 2011 09:51

Blog: Case for 6-bottle Case of DF Wine at Arrival

September 02: With the wine presence and display getting increasingly better at the Duty Free shops at Arrivals in Delhi and soon at other airports, it is time once again to look into the case for allowing 6 bottles of wine in lieu of 2 bottles of hard liquor containing 40% alcohol by volume, even if it means making it a part of the total duty free allowance of up to Rs.25,000 thus also sending a message across that wine is a low alcohol product and delineating it from liquor.

Normally, the customs do allow 3 bottles of wine or 2.25 liters vis-à-vis 2 liters allowed for whisky, vodka, gin, brandy or other distillates. But if the government is conscientious about putting control on alcohol consumption, it needs to calculate the amount of duty free alcohol being allowed in different forms. Assuming a simple calculation of 1kgm of liquid in a bottle of 1 liter, 800 gm alcohol is being presently allowed in the form of hard liquor. But with a bottle containing 13.5 % alcohol (Champagne usually has 11.5-12% alcohol by volume, some sparkling wines have even less), each bottle of 750 mL contains around 90 gms of alcohol and even 3 bottles of wine have around 270 gms. 6 bottles with 13.5% alcohol by volume would have around 540 gms alcohol-much less than currently allowed in the form of hard liquor,  making our case for allowing a 6-bottle case even stronger and a valid plea.

The wine vendors will find it more attractive to package 3 bottles of different wines from the same producer or even mix and match, making it beneficial for the consumer and once the customer knows the worth of this exercise, the sales would pick up like they have for the Johnnie Walker Black label at the present time.

If what one has heard from a reader in Gujarat is true, the government deserves kudos for being fair at least in framing the permit holders’ policy in the otherwise dry state. Such permit holders are allowed 2 or 4 units of liquor per month. According to one of our readers from Gujarat, one unit officially translates to one 750 ml bottle of hard liquor, 3 bottles of wine or 10 bottles of beer. If one goes by that logic, we should be entitled to bring 8 bottles of wine at the duty free shops on Arrival as 2 liters of hard liquor is allowed at present.

Another reader has pointed out that 24 cans of beer are allowed duty free. The veracity of his claim has not been checked but he informs us that stacks of 24-can boxes are lying outside the duty free shops. He just picks up one box and walks out through the green channel. The amount of foreign visits he makes, he feels he would have been stopped at least a few times by now, if it were not legal.  Apparently the sales persons at the shop have confirmed the same. This makes logical sense. And when looking at the alcohol content, 24 cans is the logical choice.

To be fair, these 6 bottles should be treated at par with the other dutiable/duty free goods and whatever is charged at the airport duty free shop from where the wine, whisky or beer is bought should be a part of the duty-free allowance per passenger of Rs. 25,000 or whichever is applicable.

Coming in the wake of the Russian President Medvedev making a statement last week that Russians should drink more wine to reduce the problem of alcoholism in the badly hit Russia, it makes even more sense to look at the pending issue in our own country and liberalise the duty free allowance to the extent of 6 wine bottles of 750mL - even if it means including it as a part of the Rs.25, 000 allowances.

Subhash Arora

For Previous Blogs on the same subject, please visit:

Blog: Six Bottles of DutyFree Wine on Arrival- Part III

Blog: Allow 6 bottles of DF Wines on Arrival-Part II

Blog: Allow 6 Bottles of DF Wine on Arrival


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