David S. Taub was on the hunt for just the right blend of grapes to capture the American palate soon after he expanded his wine distribution business to the international export market.
Taub, of Brookville, found it in Trento, Italy: pinot grigio, a wine he described as "fresh" with a bit of grapefruit in the background. The Port Washington-based company he founded in 1977, Palm Bay International, became the first U.S. company to import the varietal.
Taub, chairman and chief executive at Palm Bay, died Nov. 8 of complications from kidney disease, his family and company officials said. He was 72.
"He had great instincts and always seemed to be ahead of the next trend," said Taub's son Marc Taub, of Manhattan, president and chief operating officer at Palm Bay. "He was larger than life . . . I wouldn't say that every time he had the best idea, but he had the internal fortitude and the drive. Once he made the decision to get it done, he'd get it done."
In the years after Prohibition, Taub's father, Martin G. Taub, worked as a rectifier, distilling high-proof liquor. In 1952, Martin Taub started a wine & spirits distribution business with a partner.
In a letter to his father while studying at Boston University, David expressed some regret at his less-than-stellar grades that semester, but promised, "When we're in business together, I'll get A's and B's," said Marc Taub, who recently read the letter. "He signed it 'salesman, David Taub.' "
David S. Taub was born on Dec. 30, 1939, in Brooklyn, the second son of Martin Taub and Frances Israel Taub. The family moved to Great Neck when David was about 2 years old. He graduated from Great Neck High School in 1957 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Boston University in 1961.
He met his wife of 48 years, the former Linda Lewin, when she was 19 and he was 23. They were engaged three months later. They had three sons.
Taub enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961, serving for a year at Fort Dix, N.J. In 1962, he joined his father in business at the Manhattan-based Gallo Wine Distributors Inc. The company became Premier Wine & Spirits, based in Syosset. Taub took over the company in 1975 and two years later started Palm Bay. The business imports wine from 10 countries and sells to all 50 states, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Last year, Wine Enthusiast Magazine recognized Taub with its Wine Star Lifetime Achievement Award.
Taub also was involved in charitable organizations including the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, the Parker Jewish Institute for Health and Rehabilitation, the American Cancer Society and the UJA Federation.
Services were held last Sunday in Roslyn Heights. Interment was at Beth Shalom Cemetery at Pinelawn Memorial Park and Garden Mausoleums in Farmingdale.