In an emotional ceremony last week, Michael Cox (European Director of Wines of Chile) was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the prestigious Drinks Business magazine in recognition for his impressive career in wine and great achievement in championing Chilean wine.
A well known personality and friend to many in the industry, Michael is the sixth generation in his family to work in wine and one might say was born with wine in the blood. After a 32 year career in the UK and Australia, Michael setup the European offices for Wines of Chile in 2003, making this year the 10th anniversary. Fittingly, the awards ceremony was also in its 10th year for the Drinks Business.
The award, which is not given every year – only on special occasions – was presented by Michael’s twin brother, David, and was a complete surprise to Michael. “When David started the description I realised the award was going to me, and it was an amazing feeling,” he says. “The Award is a wonderful accolade and I am absolutely thrilled and honoured.”
Michael was awarded by his peers in the industry for his integrity, honesty and friendliness as cited in the speech. The Drinks Business paid accolade to him for his “immense dedication, always a warm smile, a firm handshake and helpful comments to make – as well as hips to shake… Michael has made a remarkable contribution to the trade during the course of an impressive career. Furthermore, importantly, during that time he has made many close friends in the drinks industry.”
Anita Jackson, Wines of Chile Campaign Manager in Europe, has worked with Michael for the last 10 years and she too attended the awards ceremony. “For the last ten years he has changed the face of Chile especially in the UK,” she says. “That award summed up his life in the trade and how much he is loved in the trade. When the award was given, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
His work in building the sales and reputation of Chilean throughout Europe gained him wide acknowledgement in the industry with the phrase “What we need is a Michael Cox!” popularly coined by other wine producing regions.
While this award demonstrates how highly valued he is in the industry and for his working contributions, Michael says that it too reflects his enjoyment of the job: “there has not been one day out of the 43 years that I have not enjoyed working in the wine business.”
“I can safely and honestly say that these last 10 years have been the most rewarding and enjoyable,” he comments about his time with WOC. “I have hugely appreciated the help and support from the Chilean wine trade and the people I have worked with – we have made great progress together. I also want to pay massive tribute to Anita Jackson and Karen Sutton… They have been magnificent and professional, and I owe them a lot – they are definitely part of my success and deserve a piece of the Lifetime award.”
Congratulations to Michael Cox for his Lifetime Achievement Award!
By Amanda Barnes
Photos by Alvaro Arriagada. Top: Michael with his twin brother David who presented the award. Bottom: The announcement of Michael’s award during the ceremony.