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Interview, Part 1: Marc Taub, CEO, Taub Family Companies

March 19, 2019

The Taub family, known for building leading Italian label Cavit and a host of other imported wine brands in the U.S. over the years, has transformed its business since acquiring the former Pasternak Wine Imports in late 2016. Today, Taub Family Cos. has volume of approximately 5.7 million cases. While the Taubs’ Palm Bay International unit—featuring popular brands like Cavit, Roscato, and Lunetta—accounts for the lion’s share of volume, fine wine division Taub Family Selections is at about 850,000 cases and growing. Key brands in the fine wine unit include Bertani, Planeta, Col d’Orcia, Barons de Rothschild Champagne, and others. SND executive editor Daniel Marsteller recently spoke with Taub Family CEO Marc Taub to get an update on progress.

SND: Two years after the Pasternak acquisition, how has the Taub Family Selections range developed, and how is it performing overall?

Taub: The Pasternak acquisition was a game-changer, because it started a few years into our growth of Esprit du Vin, and really cemented us having an incredible core portfolio of French wines and a relationship with Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Over the last couple of years, we’ve combined these programs into what’s now Taub Family Selections, which is a culmination of those three divisions. It’s the Pasternak portfolio, tied with our historic Esprit du Vin portfolio, tied with many of the appellation-driven fine wines that were a part of Palm Bay, to create one master fine wine company. We’re seeing phenomenal growth.

SND: Are the Palm Bay and Taub Family Selections portfolios in the same distribution houses throughout the country?

Taub: The whole move toward establishing this was to allow our fine wine business to truly operate on its own, with a fully-equipped staff and the right materials, while also enabling even greater focus on our historic Palm Bay portfolio. It’s proven to be the right strategy. If we’re in the same distribution house, we’re typically in two different divisions. Southern just did a reorganization in New York, and Palm Bay is in the Emerald Division, one of their full-market divisions, whereas Taub Family Selections is in the Lauber division, and partially sold by our own company, Independence Wine & Spirits of New York.

SND: Which wines are standouts within the Taub Family Selections portfolio?

Taub: On the Italian side, we’re seeing great success with some of our historic brands like Bertani, Planeta, and Col d’Orcia. Trimbach has been a key focus driver and leverage point for the on-premise community. We’re seeing a renaissance with people going back to try those great wines from Alsace. From the Loire, we’re having tremendous success with Saget La Perriere. Sancerre is on the mind of the consumer at a very high level. From the Languedoc, Jean-Claude Mas has become a leader from the region, buying up incredible estate properties and delivering great value. In each of these areas, we’re seeing rosé continue to be an exciting category, although we see some level of saturation on the number of brand entries. We’re having success with Jean-Luc Colombo’s rosé. Provence is still the heart of the category, but Italian rosés and California rosés are also selling well.

SND: How is the on-premise environment?

Taub: The fine wine restaurant scene is alive and well. We’re seeing great success with our Burgundy portfolio, with labels like Antonin Guyon, Bertagna, and Fernand et Laurent Pillot. SA Prum, from Germany, is gaining wide acceptance. Between Prum and Trimbach, we have two very distinct styles of Riesling. From Bordeaux, Chateau LaFleur and other Christian Moueix properties, as well as Chateau Greysac, at the base tier, are also doing well on-premise.

SND: Are you evaluating more producers for Taub Family Selections?

Taub: Right now we’re extremely focused on growing the existing properties and their market share. There’s still distributor clutter, and you can only get so many things done out there. We believe there’s a lot more growth to be achieved with the brands that we’re working on currently. That said, we’re always opportunistic in looking at up-and-coming regions.

Taub Family Companies – Leading Brands
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Brand 2017 2018 Percent
Change
Cavit 3,555 3,484 -2.0%
Roscato 810 891 10.0
Lunetta 279 287 2.9
Los Vascos 99 95 -4.0
Roscato Smooth & Dark 53 +
Total Leading Brands 4,743 4,810 1.4%
Source: IMPACT DATABANK
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