Wine producer First Cape has tipped sales of lighter wine to top £300m in the off-trade within four years.

The company claimed growing demand for lower-abv wines and the collapse of the sub-£4 full-strength wine category as a result of currency fluctuations and rising costs presented a great opportunity for 5.5% abv wines, currently worth £27m [Nielsen 52w/e 3 September 2011].

“Not everyone is going to buy into this category, but there is a trend towards lighter beverages,” said Steve Barton, director of First Cape brand owner Brand Phoenix UK.

First Cape launched its lighter-style Café Collection two years ago and is now adding more varieties to the range. Off-trade sales of Café Collection have increased 171% by volume and 170% by value to £18m in the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 3 September 2011].