Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Update: Tributes made from across the trade following the death of Michael Cox

Published:  21 February, 2014

Tributes from across the trade are being made to Michael Cox, the highly respected industry figure and European head of Wine of Chile who died last night after a year long battle with bile duct cancer. 

Cox had spent his entire career in the UK wine trade and recently said he felt he had been born with "wine in his blood" having being part of the Gordon Clark family that founded drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark. 

He died at home with his wife, Lynne Whittaker and his close family, including twin brother, David, and equally respected wine trade figure by his side.

In a message to friends and colleagues his wife wrote:  "I have been immensely proud of the way he has tackled his disease. He has insisted on carrying on with his normal life as far as was humanly possible, and the medical staff have been astounded at what he has been able to achieve."

"Even in the last few months, with his health failing rapidly, he has set himself a series of targets, each of which he has met.  Incredibly, only four days ago, he and I went to Oxford for lunch at the Cherwell Boathouse and a spin round Oxford in his wheelchair.  He was delighted to have achieved this latest target." 

In her own personal tribute to Michael Cox, Jancis Robinson MW, wrote: "The British wine trade is much duller and sadder today for the loss yesterday late afternoon of Michael Cox." She said that only recently 'he still did his utmost to enjoy wine and only very recently devoted a Saturday to enjoying international rugby and some very special bottles with my wine-writing colleagues Oz Clarke and Charles Metcalfe".  You can read her full tribute here.  

Mike Paul, wine consultant, is the latest industry figure to give his tribute to Michael.

"I was reminiscing over the weekend about Michael and the experiences we had shared over the years.Many came to mind but there was one that stood out. Back in 1995 he and I, together with Yvonne May and Alison Easton (now at Gonzalez Byass) organised  a party during the London Wine Fair at the Kensington Roof Gardens on behalf of our companies Southcorp, Yalumba and Rosemount.

"It was the first time a wine tasting had been combined with a disco. It was a huge success and became an annual event. And as we stood by the dance floor late that night I remember him saying  that getting the wine trade to dance was something he'd most like to be remembered for. 

"He never stopped dancing of course and wine trade dances will not be the same without him. He will of course be remembered for an awful lot more than that  but to me his desire to get out on the floor epitomised his view that one shouldn't take oneself too seriously.He was right at the heart of the key issues which have faced the trade over the last twenty years  and usually held clear and passionate views on the way forward. This combined with the fact that he never seemed to be afraid of saying what he thought contributed to his great success in the wine business.

"But there was always a quip or a joke ( normally a very bad one ) to lighten the mood and in getting that balance right, and in being true to himself whatever the nature of his role, he was I believe a lesson to all of us."

Other tributes have been made following the announcement of his death that show how widely respected he was from all areas of the trade. 

Simon Doyle, UK head of Chilean wine producer, Concha y Toro UK, said: "Everyone at Concha y Toro UK is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Michael Cox. Michael was a very special man, who not only achieved a great deal, but went about life with such a collaborative and positive spirit. The Chilean wine industry owes Michael a huge debt and his great legacy of raising the credentials and profile of our industry in the UK will be long lasting. All of his many friends and colleagues at Concha y Toro around the world pass on our deepest condolences to Lynne, David, family and friends.

Other leading wine trade figures have paid their respects via Twitter this morning, these include: 

Ian Harris, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust said: "So sad to hear of Michael Cox's death. Former WSET Trustee, graduate and teacher.....and a great bloke. RIP."

Tim Atkin MW, Wine critic: "RIP, Michael Cox. A true gent, a great friend and a lover of life. Will miss his dancing and bad jokes."

Robin Copestick, Copestick Murray: "We are very sad to hear of the passing of one of the true gents of the wine trade, Michael Cox. He was a great friend to Copestick Murray."

Olly Smith, Wine critic: "One of the greatest people in the world of wine has sadly died. Michael Cox will always be known to me as 'Master'. Rest In Peace."

Angela Mount said: "Michael Cox - one of the strongest fighters I have ever met - his positive spirit never wavered, and I was humbled by his bravery."

Robert Joseph: "Michael Cox was an always gentlemanly bridge between 'old' UK trade and 'newer' harder-edged one. Gone far too early."

Philip Goodband MW: "My thoughts and prayers go out to Lynne, David and all the Cox family. Michael was a true friend and will be greatly missed."

Allan Cheesman: "What a sad Friday with the tragic news about Michael Cox. Great bloke and will be sadly missed."

Anthony Rose, wine critic: "Cruel fate has prematurely taken a kind and gentle lover of life in Michael Cox. RIP Lord Ucker."

Ruth Yates of Corks Out Wines said: "Today is a sad day in the trade as we lost a great man Michael Cox last night. The trade will not be the same without him. Rest in peace."


As news has spread of the loss of Michael Cox through the wine trade, Twitter and Facebook have been flooded with comments regarding his passing reflecting most notably his immense contribution to the UK and Chilean wine business.  Most comments are praise recognising what a great gentleman he was to have known and worked with, while other speak of the legacy he will be leaving behind. Below are additional post throughout the day that have come in.  Our heartfelt and sincerest condolences are sent out to his family and loved ones.

Wines of Chile: "It's with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our beloved Michael Cox. Thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The Wine Gang: "The Gang is sad to learn of the passing of Wines of Chile UK supremo Michael Cox. A lovely guy, taken too soon,.."

Gerard Basset OBE: Michael will be sorely missed- such a lovely man

Robert McIntosh: RIP Michael Cox - a brilliant ambassador not just for Chile, but for wine in general. He will be missed by his many, many friends everywhere

Adrian Atkinson:   Cox be at peace. I will never forget the raise of 1 eyebrow and that look when I asked for more margin. To Happy days .

Jane Parkinson: Tragic news this morning. Michael Cox was a hero, a friend, a mentor, and took wine trade party dance moves to new heights.

Helen Chesshire: A sad, sad day thinking of Michael Cox. WHAT A GUY. So many wonderful memories of dancing, dancing, dancing.