Pioneering wine merchant dies

dithur1 'Michael Menzel: file shot. note subs, crop cigar -n he's had cancer''DITHUR MICHAEL MENZEL'S CIGAR SHOP,358 FULWOOD ROAD,SHEFFIELD'Michael Menzel with one of the largest cigars in the shop

dithur1 'Michael Menzel: file shot. note subs, crop cigar -n he's had cancer''DITHUR MICHAEL MENZEL'S CIGAR SHOP,358 FULWOOD ROAD,SHEFFIELD'Michael Menzel with one of the largest cigars in the shop

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SHEFFIELD’S licensed trade has lost one of its most colourful characters, former wine merchant Michael Menzel.

He established the city’s first fine wine shop, originally at Nether Green, later more famously on Ecclesall Road in the early Eighties.

The following decade he launched Menzel’s wine bar, which is still named after him, although he no longer owned it.

German-born Michael, who has died from cancer, aged 70, was rarely seen to smile but had a wicked sense of humour.

While medics worked on him after a heart attack he texted friends to say his ambulance was passing their shop.

He narrowly escaped trouble when cheering on Germany during international football games.

Michael, who lived in Ranmoor, came to Britain speaking little English and met his wife Carol while working in a South Coast hotel, following her to Sheffield.

“He liked Yorkshire because they called a spade a spade,” said Julie, one of his three daughters.

Fellow wine merchants paid tribute to their friend.

Patrick Jouan of Le Bon Vin described him as ‘a lovely man’.

John Mitchell, of Mitchell’s Wines, spoke of the friendly rivalry he enjoyed with Michael over the years.

“I sold in quantity, he sold in quality,” he said.

Menzels specialised in quality wines, particularly champagne and burgundies, but lost out to the giant chains. He sold out to Bottoms Up.

The funeral will be held at Mother of God Roman Catholic Church on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, on Friday, September 23, at 10.30am.