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The passing of Michael Cox

Michael Cox, a great ambassador of Chilean wine, passed away on Thursday February 19 after battling with an aggressive bile duct cancer for one year.

Last year Michael celebrated 10 years leading Wines of Chile UK and has been one of the most influential figures in Chilean wine and in the international wine community in recent years. Tributes are pouring in highlighting Michael’s admirable work ethic, and his renowned charisma and warmth.

“According to his own words, this was his best work period which he put himself into fully with his characteristic joviality and intelligence,” said Claudio Cilveti, Managing Director of Wines of Chile. “The Chilean wine community is mourning about the loss of this great man in our lives.”

British wine journalist Jancis Robinson also paid tribute to Michael and the warm memories that many hold for him: “The British wine trade is much duller and sadder today for the loss yesterday late afternoon of Michael Cox… Michael was very sporty, enormous fun, extremely efficient and efficacious but never took anything too seriously. His reputation as a dancer was legendary and I should imagine that his dinner jacket was one of Britain’s most worn.”

Michael said that he was practically born with ‘wine in his blood’. Born in a family with a long history in wine trading, he started working in the business with his twin brother at a young age and worked extensively in Australia as well as Europe. In addition to his work with Wines of Chile, last year he was elected as the Master of the Vintner’s Company to celebrate its 650th year. In 2013 he was also honoured as Personality of the Year at the International Wine Challenge Awards, with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Drinks Business and Personality of the Year at the Annual Wines of Chile Gala. His spirit and personality reached wide and afar, and he will be deeply missed in Chile and the wider wine community.

Michael passed away at his home in Hampshire, England, with his wife Lynne, his children and close family by his side. A small, private funeral will be held within the next fortnight and a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held within the next six weeks.

Today is a day of mourning for the many that Michael touched, and he will be remembered with fond memories in Chile and abroad. “I will raise a glass of Chilean wine this evening and celebrate Michael’s life,” says Michael’s long standing colleague and friend, Anita Jackson. “I know that he would love for us all to do this.”

Let’s raise a glass to Michael and celebrate the love and joy that he brought to us all.  Rest in peace Michael Cox.

25 February 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor