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Interview, Part 2: Taub Family Companies CEO Marc Taub

March 20, 2019

In the second part of our interview, Taub Family Companies chief executive Marc Taub discusses the group’s plans for Cavit, as well as its growing California wine and spirits portfolios.

SND: You recently acquired Saracina in Mendocino. What are your plans for the California portfolio?

Taub: We started in California about five years ago, with two programs: The acquisition of Heritance, from Bernard Portet, and the establishment of Au Contraire as our Sonoma entry, honoring my dad, who used that saying. Heritance has done very well. We’ve found some incredible vineyard producers to work with. At the same time, we’ve had some issues with production facilities. After moving a couple of times, we decided we needed a home base of our own. We found the 250-acre Saracina ranch, which was owned by the Fetzer family. Over the next several years, we’ll move more of our production there. One of the best things is that Saracina came with an incredible winemaker, Alex MacGregor, who’s worked in the region for 18 years and knows the territory.

SND: Any interest in adding more California or West Coast brands?

Taub: Currently Au Contraire includes a Russian River Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Pinot, and some single vineyards. We’ll soon add a California-appellated entry, Mon Frere, geared toward by-the-glass pricing. Also, we’ve continued to upgrade Heritance and bring it into our own fold. With all of our single-vineyard and appellated wines, we’re changing from Heritance to Taub Family Vineyards. For instance, Heritance Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III will become Taub Family Vineyards Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon beginning with the 2016 vintage. Heritance will remain as our base tier Napa Valley wines.

SND: What’s the update on Cavit?

Taub: Cavit’s always been an evolutionary brand, and it’s still the No.-1 Pinot Grigio from Italy. The rosé is new this year, and we’re seeing strong success. We’re also entering the red blend and sweet red blend categories. Cavit’s 187-ml. single-serve is our fastest-growing size right now. Lastly, we’ve added Prosecco ($14) to the range.

SND: Roscato continues to be a growth engine. How far can it go?

Taub: We’re launching a new advertising campaign this year to promote the “Sweet Life,” focusing on social media and outdoor. The original red blend continues to be the leader, but we’ve had an incredible uplift with Roscato rosé. We also introduced two still wines—Dark and Smooth—which have different packaging from the regular Roscato. We’ll cross 1 million cases any day now.

SND: Where else do you see opportunity in sparkling wine?

Taub: We have Cavit and Lunetta on the Palm Bay side, as well as an interesting item from Pere Ventura—Chic Barcelona—that’s going national this year. From the Loire, Marquis de la Tour has become a very strong on-premise entry. On the Taub Family Selections side, we have a broad portfolio, Valdo being our entry in Prosecco. In Champagne, we have Boizel as well as Barons de Rothschild Champagne, which is the property of all three Rothschild families. From Italy, at the high end, we have Ferrari, which has been a sponsor of the Emmys for the last three years.

SND: How is your spirits portfolio evolving?

Taub: We did just north of 20,000 cases in our first year with Drumshanbo Irish Gunpowder Gin. We think we’ll wind up doubling that business in the year ahead. Tequila Bribon is a venture with the Orendain family, which is off to a tremendous start. At the higher end, we’re working on Chamucos, which just launched an extra añejo, and something called “55,” which is a 55% abv blanco that’s amazing for cocktails. In Scotch, the Wemyss family is ready to release the new whisky from their Kingsbarn distillery. Equally exciting, in American whiskey we’re launching Jacob’s Pardon, named after the pardon that was given to my great-uncle for transporting barrel shards of whiskey during Prohibition. We also have a great rum brand called Dos Maderas, aged in Pedro Ximenez casks.

The full interview appears in Impact’s March 1&15 issue.—Daniel Marsteller

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