Here in the UK, the wine industry is mourning the passing of one of its most well-known and well-liked characters. Michael Cox, who had headed up the UK & Europe arm of trade body Wines of Chile, died yesterday. He was 62.

Tributes have been paid this morning by many on social media, while peer publications The Drinks Business, Harpers Wine & Spirit and Off Licence News have run obituaries for Michael.

Freelance writer and Master of Wine Jancis Robinson has posted this, which says as much as I could about the character of a man who was, put simply, a titan of the wine industry over here.

(Incidentally, he'll hate me for referring to a wine “industry”: At a just-drinks panel presentation at the London International Wine Fair in 2011, he took strong umbrage to the term!)

Michael dragged Chile's wine industry into the 21st Century here in the UK. The part he played in driving the country's presence in this market cannot be over-stated: Were it not for Michael's efforts in his ten years with the organisation, I doubt Chile's shelf-section would be as large or as prominent as it is today.

It is clear that the country valued his guidance here. In late-2010, the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, bestowed upon Michael the title of Commander of the Order of Merit of Chile.

That Michael was awarded the highest honour Chile holds serves as testament to the debt the country owed - and continues to owe - him.