He died yesterday (February 20) at home surrounded by his close family, following a long hard battle with cancer.
Michael and his twin brother David, were well known figures in the UK wine trade. Michael was the current master of the Worshipful Company of Vintners one of the oldest City of London livery companies. David, having worked for Brown-Forman’s wine division and New Zealand Wine Growers, is currently chief executive of the UK wine sector charity, The Benevolent.
Michael and David’s family have a long and illustrious history in the UK drinks trade. The family used to own Matthew Clark before it was bought out and has subsequently changed hands several times.
Michael went to Australia at a time when Australian wines were barely known outside of the country. Working for Yalumba, he was one of a handful of pioneers who brought in and developed Australian wines in the mainstream UK market.
At Wines of Chile, Michael was pivotal the development of the country’s wines. Dogged by an epithet of ‘cheap and cheerful’, Michael Cox was instrumental in setting up the country’s wine awards and, using his contacts, brought in well respected wine writers, journalists and winemakers to judge. Michael used all his charm, knowledge and determination to get Chilean winemakers to look beyond volume and start planting on hillsides and close to the coast to develop better quality wines that expressed the region’s terroir.
Chile’s position now as a producer and maker of premium quality wines is in no small part due to Michael Cox’s efforts as a director of Wines of Chile. For his efforts he was awarded the Chilean equivalent of a British knighthood.
He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.