Michael Cox and Hugh Johnson win IWC awards

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Michael Cox, Master of the Worshipful Company of Vintners and wine writer and author, Hugh Johnson, were both recognised for their services to the wine trade at last night’s International Wine Challenge 2013 awards.

Michael Cox was named Personality of the Year and Hugh Johnson received a Lifetime Achievement award.

Cox was singled out by the IWC judges for his long and respected career in the wine trade and in particular his role as marketing director of Matthew Clark in the 1980s and more recently the impact he has made developing both the Australian and Chilean wine categories, first with Yalumba and then 10 years as director of Wines of Chile, Europe. But it was for his achievements as Master of the Worshipful Company of Vintners that the IWC wanted to honour him in 2013.

This ancient guild was given its first Royal Charter in 1363 and this year celebrates its 650th anniversary. The judges said Cox has has “led the Vintners with his customary wit, charm and exuberance over the last 12 months”.

They added: “Appropriately, our winner combines elements of both the New and Old Worlds: a can-do spirit and a willingness to take risks, on the one hand, with a respect for the best elements of tradition and a desire to build upon them, on the other.”

Hugh Johnson was also recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award at last night’s awards for his long standing career in the wine trade.

Johnson says his life was changed while an undergraduate at Cambridge by two glasses of red Burgundy, at a meeting of the university’s Wine & Food Society. One was ordinary, the other magical and his career in the wine trade was born.

He joined Condé Nast Publications in 1960, and started work on Vogue and House & Garden. In 1962 he became editor of Wine & Food magazine, and started to write a wine column in the Sunday Times.

He has published many books about wine, among which are his highly respected introduction to the subject, ‘Wine’, in 1966, ‘The World Atlas of Wine’ in 1971, recognised by the governing body of French wine, the INAO, as the first really serious mapping of the world’s wine regions, and ‘The Story of Wine’, in 1989, accompanied by a 13-part TV programme.

His Pocket Book of Wine has been an annual guide (and stocking-filler) for the last 37 years.

In the commercial world of wine, he has been president of the Sunday Times Wine Club since 1973, he was a director of Château Latour from 1986 to 2001, and co-founder of the Royal Tokaji Wine Company in 1990. In 1986, he created a collection of wine glasses and other wine-related items, with a shop in St James’s and a thriving market in the Far East.

He was awarded an OBE in 2007, for services “to winemaking and horticulture”.

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