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Interview: Marc Taub, President & CEO, Palm Bay International And Esprit du Vin

December 9, 2016

Yesterday, SND exclusively reported that the Taub family has agreed to acquire Pasternak Wine Imports from Bordeaux’s DBR Lafite for an undisclosed sum. The Pasternak portfolio will be merged into the Taubs’ Esprit du Vin (EDV) company, which is separate from its Palm Bay International organization and has its own management, sales and marketing teams. It’s a major deal that will more than double EDV’s size, with Pasternak’s 450,000 cases now added to bring EDV’s total volume to 760,000 cases. EDV will welcome onboard most of the Pasternak sales and marketing organization, but Pasternak president and CEO Stephen Brauer won’t be joining the group. Brauer told SND that he’s moving back to the West Coast in early January (he has a home in Sonoma), and will be actively seeking new opportunities. SND senior editor Daniel Marsteller interviewed Marc Taub, president and CEO of both EDV and Palm Bay, to explore the Pasternak deal and the growth prospects for newly enlarged EDV. 

SND: Which wines from Pasternak are most promising from your viewpoint? Are there any underperforming brands you think EDV can enhance?

Taub: The Pasternak portfolio is lean and compact, with a diversity of terrific wines across the board that have the capacity to grow their presence in the U.S. market. France in general is very exciting right now, and that will benefit the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) Bordeaux entries, as well as Domaine d’Aussieres from the Languedoc, Cave de Lugny from southern Burgundy, Saget la Perriere from the Loire, Chateau la Nerthe (an icon in Chateauneuf du Pape) and many others. Outside of France, Valdo is a key Italian growth driver in the portfolio—the Prosecco category certainly shows no signs of slowing, and this is a segment in which Taub Family companies have been very successful historically. We remain bullish on the Argentine category, and see great potential in Bodegas Caro, a partnership between Catena and DBR. Thomas George Estates represents a great offering from the Russian River Valley. Throughout the portfolio, our team is excited to drive existing business while taking advantage of new growth opportunities.

SND: Both EDV and Pasternak have been bullish on accessibly-priced offerings from Bordeaux. How is this segment faring? Do you envision more activity there for your company?

Taub: The Bordeaux category has been incredibly strong for EDV, as well as for Pasternak. From our side, Chateau Greysac has had another record year, and our Rollan de By business is robust. In terms of accessibly-priced offerings from Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR), we’re excited about working with the Légende series in the coming year. We also look forward to the opportunity to work in the classified growth business with Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Petrus and other fantastic wines in the Moueix portfolio.

SND: How do you see the Los Vascos brand fitting into the Taub family’s existing Chilean portfolio?

Taub: On the Palm Bay side, we’ve had tremendous success growing Santa Rita’s business in a down market for Chilean wines, and have proven expertise in navigating this category strategically. We strongly feel that great brands can always succeed, separate and apart from overall category trends. It’s important to note that Los Vascos will be part of the EDV portfolio, and will therefore have a separate salesforce driving the brand in the market, while benefiting from the shared experience and philosophy of the Taub Family companies.

SND: I recall you’ve been scouting Champagne producers lately. Does the Barons de Rothschild brand fill that gap, or will you continue looking for more brands in that area?

Taub: At Palm Bay, we’re looking forward to welcoming Champagne Boizel to our portfolio in early 2017, a result of our search for a new partner in this segment. On the EDV side, we currently work with Andre Jacquart, an outstanding boutique grower Champagne. We see great potential synergy in the special collaboration between the Rothschild family members, particularly the passion and prestige they each bring, that culminates in Champagne Barons de Rothschild.

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