A belated cheers to life

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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It’s all a French conspiracy. Not only can I not be in Cannes this year, but my first post-gastrectomy efforts to drink some wine to celebrate my return home were foiled by Gallic disasters.

TouraineSo relieved was I to be out of hospital last Friday evening that I decided to road-test my new internal plumbing with a solitary glass of something light and easy to take. I settled on a humble but always reliable Touraine (Sauvignon Blanc) from Alain Marcadet in France. I poured myself a small glass and prepared to toast the beginning of a new chapter in my life. However my nose, which had not been part of the operation, suggested all was not well inside the bottle and my first, long-awaited post-operative sip confirmed it – corked!!

Rather than venture down to my cellar in the Worldwide HQ at the bottom of my garden on a cold October night, I decided to leave well alone and wait another 24 hours.

The scene the next evening was a family get together of in-laws and their relatives. I arrived with a nice bottle of Tindall Marlborough Pinot Noir from New Zealand, complete with screw cap so I knew it would be drinkable.

Alas, while those present were not avid wine drinkers, one well-meaning aunt from France had brought along a red wine that beat mine to being opened. It was a 2008 Cotes de Bourg (home to many good wines) that possibly ranks as the worst wine I have sampled in my life.

I feared that a single sip had more radically transformed my insides than the major medical procedure of a week earlier. Why hadn’t my surgeon simply fed me this stuff? It would have saved all the pain of the operation as my stomach would have just dissolved of its own accord.

It would have been rude of me to open my own bottle so I quietly found the nearest sink and empted my glass with glee. The kitchen plumbing has probably corroded by now. Throughout the dinner I watched in suspense as the other guests sipped on that Cotes de Bourg. Only one took a second glass. No chance then to move on to my Pinot Noir. The joy of my wine-drinking comeback would have to wait. France 2 – Kiwis 0. It was the Rugby World Cup all over again.


Redemption finally came the following night as I opened the New Zealand wine at my own home. It was light, raspberryish and… delicious! What’s more my restyled interior bodyworks handled a couple of glasses in style.

Just to confirm the fact, as I later hooked myself up to my overnight feeding machine (a necessary indignity to ensure I take in enough sustenance in the early weeks post the operation), I sipped on a sublime Renault XO Cognac ( I forgive the French everything) that I had been given a decade and a half earlier. After all, if you have to cut back, cut back in style… here’s cheers to life.

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  • Missing at Cannes this year: Martin’s politeness, honest smile and warm company.
    See you there next time! Cheers!
    God Bless. LAL.

  • Dear Martin,

    As always I enjoy reading the blog but Christine & Barbara are absolutely right I “LOL” (laughed out loud, as my daughter would says in text speak) and the ‘cheer in your voice’ I could hear it also.
    Of course you were mentioned in Cannes a dozen times or more your name was mentioned and all complimentary! Now that’s a result!
    The week in Cannes I would say was exceptional for all, the buz is back. So many positive comments about the future of Travel Retail and I noted that still up to 80% of all travellers do not buy anything at airports, inflight, etc. What a potential the industry has.
    Anyway, I wish you a speedy recovery and keep taking the medicine, (wine that is).
    Kind regards, Jonathan.

  • Hi, Martin! I laughed out loud reading this; hooray! Good for you, good for wine, and good for the new plumbing. You were sorely missed in Cannes; and, if you want indignity, “your” bar was a cloak-room during the opening cocktail! I know, not that bad in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, you were very much there in spirit, spoken of 1,000 times, and I can assure you that an inordinate amount of admiration and support were coming through the ether to you. XXX, Christine

  • Martin, it is wonderful to hear the cheer in your voice – just by reading your blog! Glad you are on the road back so quickly! Hope to see you at the next All Blacks V Munster game! Take care & stay positive! Thinking of you, Barbara xx