Many of us knew and loved Morley Safer of 60 Minutes fame who died in 2016. What you might not remember is what a fan he was of wine and how his love of wine contributed to America’s love of, or at least consumption of, wine. In this article, I’ll review Morley Safer’s wonderful wine stories.
The French Paradox, 1991
In 1991, when Americans were seriously getting into exercising, heart disease was still the number one cause of death. Morley Safer did a story called The French Paradox where he looked at the fact that French seemed to eat a lot more fat than Americans but were healthier on the heart front. Safer highlighted research by a scientist at the University of Bordeaux, Serge Renaud, who hypothesized that wine in the French lifestyle was responsible for their healthier hearts. This story contributed to a huge uptick in red wine consumption in America.
All in the Family, 2008
The All in the Family story is a great look at an Italian winery, Antica Winery, that’s been run by the same family, the Antinori family, for 600 years! The winery dates back to 1385! Can you imagine having a family business that lasts that long? Anyway, it’s a delightful story about this wonderful family and their love of wine.
One of the things I really enjoyed learning about is the recent entrance of the women in the family into the business. In Italy, winemaking has been done almost exclusively by men. In the current generation, the women are running the show and doing a great job of it. That makes me very excited.
Resveratrol Story, 2009
In 2009, Morley Safer did a great story on resveratrol, the substance in wine that can prevent a number of age-related illnesses. Safer gets pretty exuberant about the “quest to put death on hold.” He talks about the start of all of this, in 2003, when David Sinclair, a biochemist at Harvard who was studying the genetic components of aging, discovered resveratrol.
This story also goes into depth on another possible way to put death on hold: calorie restriction. This part of the story didn’t appeal to me nearly as much as the part of the story on resveratrol. But Safer ends the story by talking about how a resveratrol pill could offer the exact same benefits as a calorie-restrictive diet.
Thank you, Morley Safer, for being such a fan of wine and giving us more good reasons to enjoy it.
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