Chan Cox: Generous of heart

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
This is a glimpse of the business facet of Chan Cox’s life at his store in Destin.

Graduating from Troy University and moving to Pensacola with his parents, Chan Cox began his professional career by working with a distributor of wine, beers and spirits for 10 years.

 In 1979 he opened his first business in Pensacola, expanded to Sandestin, and then came to our community in 2000 with the opening of Chan’s Wine World in Destin.  Today Chan has six retail stores and five restaurants.  Business continues to expand at an enormous speed. The latest has been the grand opening of The Craft Bar at Chan’s Wine World.

A business this successful doesn’t expand without a strong work ethic. A typical day for Chan will find him getting up in the morning before the rooster crows. At 4:30-5 a.m. you will find him up and in front of the computer.  By 6 a.m. he will be at work at one of his stores. 

Chan tells me, “I am compulsive about taking a break every day to complete a mid-morning workout at the gym. This refreshes me.” Afternoons find him visiting different store locations, involved with planning festivals or up and coming events. His energy overfloweth and his competitive nature is always just under the surface bubbling away. Between 5 – 6 p.m., he hopes to be home at his farm and 10 p.m. is when he falls into bed. 

“I work seven days a week but allow myself Saturday and Sunday afternoons to spend with the family and enjoy my personal life.”

Chan’s Wine World in Destin contains an inventory worth half a million dollars. Chan remarks, “We offer wine, cheese and liquor but I don’t think of it individually, I think of it as selling a way of life. I have a passion for this business and I’m blessed that I make a living doing it. I enjoy good food and I enjoy a good wine with the perfect food pairing. I enjoy wine every night with dinner.”

I ask Chan what is the most expensive bottle of wine in the store. He beams at the question and tells me, “The first Charity Wine Auction was founded right here from this store. Peter Mondavi’s family produced this nine liter bottle of Charles Krug cabernet sauvignon which he personally brought to the auction and I bought with a donation to charity for $4,500.” 

Chan tells me there are three facets to his life — business, personal and charity work. 

“I view charity and community as the same. This community is over the top with the sharing of their resources.  Last year we raised over two million dollars to go to local charities. The wonderful people who live here make this happen. Going up against big cities like, Houston, New York, Atlanta and Napa Valley, little bitty Destin is expecting to be ranked number five of all the wine charities in the United States.”

I raise my glass to that!

I ask Chan what wine he would serve if the Queen of England was dropping in for dinner. 

“Because the English drink a lot of French wine, I would choose a French Bordeaux. Bordeaux is recognized as the best wine in the world so I’m comfortable choosing this for the Queen. In 2005, a 25.4 ounce bottle of French Bordeaux wine, Chateau Petrus, sold for $5,000.” 

I wondered if they poured a glass, guzzled it down, or would they save it for a few more years?

For a personal meal of choice, Chan assures me that French country cooking will please him every time. 

“A good choice might be coq au vin, (cooked with 1/2 bottle good dry red wine such as a Burgandy.)  For the vegetables, serve parsnips or potatoes and braised greens. For dessert, a peach tart is on the top of my list and absolutely, add ice cream.”

The second world of Chan Cox is his horse farm. 

“For my relaxation, it is all about family. The horse farm is all about my wife, Laura, who used to ride competitively on hunter/jumpers. I enjoy Florida State football and my new son-in-law plays for the Baltimore Ravens so that will be an added dimension of football for us. Our two corgi dogs are always roaming around somewhere.”

Chan Cox says, “It is very rewarding to give back, I can’t imagine being any other way.” 

For me, I can’t imagine Destin without his presence.  Salute.

Laura Hall is a longtime gardener and Destin resident.  She explores area gardens and other local topics with her cavalier spaniel Annie.  If you would like to show off your garden or be profiled in a future column, contact Laura at