The Buyer
In memory & tribute to Matthew Cooper wine buyer for Ellis Wines

In memory & tribute to Matthew Cooper wine buyer for Ellis Wines

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Matthew Cooper, wine buyer at Ellis Wines. Here we share a tribute from the team at Ellis Wines, where he worked for nearly 25 years, and a personal message from Richard Siddle.

Richard Siddle
1st November 2021by Richard Siddle
posted in People,

Ellis Wines have released this statement in memory of Matthew Cooper, their much loved and highly respected head wine buyer:

It is with great sadness that we report that Matthew Cooper, head wine buyer of Ellis Wines has passed away.

Matthew was involved in an accident abroad and suffered a major injury from which he did not recover. He was surrounded by his family when he passed away in hospital last week.

Matthew had been with Ellis Wines for nearly 25 years and was an integral part of the Ellis family in his role as head buyer and instrumental in the development of our portfolio and the success of the company.

A much-loved colleague and friend, Matthew’s zest for life and extraordinary ability to make everyone feel special will be sorely missed.

Matthew Cooper out in the vineyards where he was at its happiest discovering new wines that he knew his customers would enjoy

He loved to share his knowledge of wine and so much more, which was an inspiration to all those around him. All of our producers and partners across the world held Matthew in the highest regard and he struck abiding friendships with so many of them.

He was also well known and respected amongst colleagues and peers in the wine world, not only as a friend but also as a judge in wine competitions. He was always searching for the next exciting buying project.

His love of sport equalled his love of wine and beer, and as a lifelong West Ham supporter he endured the ups and downs that football can bring. He was also a huge cricket fan, an excellent golfer and knew the rules of every sport imaginable and always had the answer to the most obscure questions.

His love for his two children was of paramount importance and our thoughts are with them, his mother and sister.

His enthusiasm, joie de vivre and positive and outgoing nature endeared him to all who knew him. We have all lost a great friend and his passing leaves a huge gap at Ellis Wines and the wine world as a whole.

Richard Siddle shares his personal memory and tribute to Matthew Cooper:

Matthew Cooper with Californian winemaker Joel Peterson during a buying trip to California in autumn 2019

We are lucky in the wine industry to not just get to know such an array of great personalities, but spend time with them too. Even writing these few words I can see the twinkle in Matthew’s eyes that used to greet me whenever we caught each other’s attention at a trade tasting or wine event. You knew instantly that your plans were about to be changed. For time spent with Matthew was always very special and unique.

He had a way of looking at the world like no-one else. Which was usually gloriously refreshing. He would start up a conversation as though you had just spent the last few hours with him, or were just coming back from the bar. Which is usually where things ended up.

He also had an uncanny knack of remembering what we had been talking about last time we met up. He always had time for you, to listen to your stories. To pull your leg about how it was only a matter of time before West Ham was higher than Liverpool in the league.

I particularly remember a week spent in California in the autumn of 2019 where as part of a buyers’ trip he might be meeting up to 20 to 30 producers a day as part of special walk around tastings. After each tasting session he would be the last to leave, chatting to three or four producers and making the time to go through some of their wines again. He always wanted to share as much time and feedback with them as he could. It made such a big impression on me. He just wanted to help them as much as he could.

His twinkling eyes were back in my mind today as I was pulling together today’s The Buyer newsletter, for every time I met Matthew he would joke he had just about got to the end of reading the last one – and could we possibly make them just a little shorter.

It made me smile. I will be smiling and dedicating the Buyer newsletter to him every week.

Up The Hammers. Chief.