David S. Taub, C.E.O. of Palm Bay International and a wine-and-spirits industry leader for much of the past five decades, died November 8 on Long Island, New York, after an extended battle with kidney disease. He was 72 years old.
Since the 1960s, Taub, a native New Yorker, was at the forefront of wine distribution and importation. Through his keen business sense and strong commitment to relationship building, Taub enormously impacted wine consumption in America. Among his key achievements, he created the successful Cavit brand from scratch and forged a highly successful business bond with Olive Garden, one of the country’s leading on-premise sellers of Italian wines.
Today, Palm Bay’s import portfolio exceeds five million cases annually, representing more than 40 producers from 10 countries around the world, including large commercial brands like Cavit from northern Italy as well as luxury brands like Planeta in Sicily, Bertani in the Veneto and Jean-Luc Columbo in the Rhône Valley, in addition to representing diverse wines from New World countries like Argentina, Chile and beyond.
Taub’s impressive contributions to the industry coupled with his legendary work ethic earned him numerous accolades over the years. In 2005, Palm Bay Imports received the 2004 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award for Importer of the Year, largely for masterfully marketing Cavit as the quintessential Italian white wine.
“For as long as we’ve been around, we’ve embraced Italy,” Taub told Wine Enthusiast when he accepted the award.
At last year’s Wine Star Awards ceremony, after nearly 50 years as a wine industry luminary, Wine Enthusiast bestowed Taub with the prestigious 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for steering Pinot Grigio to the United States and for his passion and desire to expand large-volume varieties into fine wine and wines of character.
“Over the past 35 years, since my father [the late Martin Taub] and I founded Palm Bay with just two Italian brands—Principato and Cavit—I have tried to create meaningful, lasting relationships with our suppliers and distributors,” Taub said during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Port Washington, New York. “There are the pillars that don’t change. This is what is most important to me.”
Taub is survived by his wife, Linda, three sons—Marc, who is president and C.O.O. of Palm Bay International, Andrew and Josh—and six grandchildren.