Trade shares grief over death of May

The industry has paid tribute to Yvonne May’s passion and inspiration following news that the UK and European regional director for Wine Australia has died after a battle with leukaemia.

Andreas Clark, acting chief executive, for Wine Australia, said: “Yvonne was a tireless and passionate ambassador for our Australian wine community. We were richer for having her in our lives but now poorer with her leaving us much too soon.

“While those who knew her well will be grieving her loss, she would not want us to wallow and we should all continue to be inspired with how she embraced life and its opportunities.”

May’s team at Wine Australia UK & Europe, Emma Symington, Camilla Coste, Hannah Silverman and Kirsty Savory, said they were devastated by her loss.

In a joint statement they said: “Yvonne was a valiant advocate for the progression of Australian wine in our market and she achieved so much for the category in the UK and Europe including the establishment of her Think Tank and a range of impactful activities such as Tasting Blind Club, One Day Wine School, the Inspired Tasting and the Nordic Roadshow. As a result the Australian wine profile has been significantly raised and this is largely attributable to Yvonne.

“To Yvonne’s staff, past and present, she was an inspiration and a mentor as well as a formidable manager who passionately championed the world of Australian wine.”

Accolade Wines UK general manager Paul Schaafsma was among members of the trade who paid tribute.

He said: “She was a true professional and set the standard when it came to her work at Wine Australia. Yvonne brought enthusiasm, gusto and positive energy in all she did.”

Liberty Wines managing director David Gleave praised “her energy, knowledge and commercial awareness, aligned with her obvious love for Australia and its wines”.

Negociants managing director Simon Thorpe said: “Many of the initiatives she instigated have been successful and she leaves the reputation of Australian wine in much better shape. The tenacity, creativity and sheer hard work that she demonstrated in her role represent a great benchmark for anyone in the wine industry.”

May left behind husband David Lindsay. The family is planning a private funeral and May had asked, instead of flowers, for any donations to be made to The Benevolent.

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