The Ellis Wines team has been paying tribute to Matthew Cooper, the company’s head wine buyer, who has died following an accident overseas.
He had been with the company for nearly 25 years.
A statement from Ellis described him as “a much loved colleague and friend”.
It added: “Matthew’s zest for life and extraordinary ability to make everyone feel special will be sorely missed.
“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.”