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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Clive Barlow MW

Buzz Cargo, the cargo line of the budget airline Buzz, is offering a distribution service for passengers visiting various parts of France. The package, run in conjunction with a number of French producers, allows those flying with Buzz to purchase wine at the cellar door and have it delivered to their home in the UK. According to Allen McQuarrie of Buzz, Customs & Excise has come to an understanding' with the airline over duty exemption and shipment conditions. The volume of wine which can be transported per person without attracting the payment of duty is up to a personal allowance limit, advised by Customs & Excise, of 90 litres. Each shipment must have its own unique airway bill and be addressed direct to the recipient in the UK. The cost of shipping, covering transport to the French airport, the flight to Stansted and onward delivery to a UK address, varies from a minimum of 33 for 30 bottles to 82 for 120. The rate of uptake of the offer is rising, and in the quiet period from October last year 750 cases have been shipped. McQuarrie said that the service is successful in Bergerac, where Buzz works closely with seven producers. There are now plans to transport wines from Provence, starting in March/April this year, where Buzz would be working with Maison Des Vins. Danny Guney, of Buzz Cargo, said that in future they would look at the possibility of operating the same system from Dijon. Although some in the trade have expressed disquiet over Buzz's actions, Jason Yapp, sales manager at Yapp Brothers' in Wiltshire, said: I think it is a great gimmick to sell air tickets, but not a great threat to the wine trade.'