DFS Changi to allow unlimited purchase of duty-free wines


World’s leading luxury travel retailer DFS Group (DFS) has announced that travellers going through Changi Airport can buy unlimited selected bottles of wine at duty-free prices.

Most travellers going through Singapore’s Changi Airport are intimately familiar with a number of things – the death penalty for drug trafficking, or the location of The Whiskey House in Terminal 2 for free whisky tastings – but possibly the one thing that they’re most keenly aware of? Their duty-free allowance.

Last month, however, DFS announced that it will be absorbing all duty and taxes on selected bottles of wine so that travellers arriving in Singapore will have the chance to purchase an unlimited amount of wine from a selected collection at duty-free prices. This is on top of the Singapore Custom’s duty-free allowance of either one litre of spirits, one litre of wine, one litre of beer; or two litres of wine, one litre of beer; or two litres of beer, one litre of wine.

In fact, passengers arriving from Malaysia, those who have been away from Singapore for less than 48 hours, as well as travelers who have already maximised their duty free allowance before arriving – who previously could not buy under previous Customs guidelines – are now all legible to purchase from this specific duty-paid wine collection. DFS even offers free home delivery to those who spend a minimum of S$300 from that selection.

Some in-country alcohol retailers, however, are crying foul. Patricia Britton, owner and director of Le Vigne Wines & Spirits, called the move “a case of unfair competition”. “We need to question how this decision (by Singapore Customs) came to be,” she wrote on Facebook, calling for members of the industry to register their concerns with the Competition Commission of Singapore.

Rajesh Ram Singh, owner of online wine and spirits distributor Liquor Bar, echoed his concerns. “(If) it’s unlimited, what’s to stop a buyer from buying for others? They also do delivery to your home,” he commented.

All this retail infighting would not be of too much interest to the consumer. They would care, though, that DFS’s duty-paid collection consists of 25 of some of their best-selling red, white and sparkling wines from around the world, including France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. These include the Bellavista NV Cuvee Sparkling from Franciacorta, Chateau Haut-Bonneau and Chateau Du Moulin from St-Emilion, and Frescobaldi Lucente from Tuscany.

The collection will be refreshed every two months. The December-January Collection is currently available at all DFS Changi Wines & Spirits Arrivals stores until 31 January 2017, and a new collection will be introduced for February-March 2017.

From now until end-January 2017, those who purchase a minimum of S$150 worth of duty-paid wine from the collection will receive two pairs of return ferry tickets to Batam worth S$95.