60 Minutes on red wine, 1991

In 1991, the CBS show “60 Minutes” ran an influential segment of possible health benefits of red wine. Entitled “The French Paradox,” correspondent Morley Safer looked at how on earth the French could eat high fat food, such as cheese, and have low rates of heart failure. Research concluded the key variable was not only the type of fat but also red wine. The resulting demand for red wine, the New York Times wrote a few years later, was seen as “potentially the biggest boon to the wine industry since the repeal of Prohibition.”

Morely Safer was at it again earlier this evening, talking about red wine and lab rats. The subject of the piece tonight was about resveratrol (it’s everywhere!), a component found naturally in red wine that may hold the key to a longer, more slothful life in concentrated pill form, not necessarily wine. So great is the potential for the company making the pills, Sirtris, that Glaxo Smith Kline acquired them for $720 million last year. The pills are five years from being on the market they say in the piece.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to explore tonight’s 12 minute segment over on CBS. Here instead is a flashback to see the original four-minute segment from 1991. How naive we were then, back before certain types of fats were taxed! And how funny that the story features the French paradox and they show bottles of Lopez de Heredia from Rioja!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

11 Responses to “60 Minutes on red wine, 1991”

  1. I saw that segment the other night as well. The calorie restriction club was quite an interesting group. I enjoyed his comment after featuring them, as I paraphrase: their diet may help them live longer, but then they may still die of boredom.

  2. Great resveratrol piece on 60 minutes – the thing is that you can buy resveratrol today. I have been taking it since 2003.

  3. Since the Harvard resveratrol study on aging by Dr. Sinclair was published in the journal Nature a flood of dubious companies have sprung up selling resveratrol. Many have no scientists, no labs, no quality control and no experience. Both myself and Dr. Mehmet Oz have recommended Biotivia Bioforte and Transmax.

    Consumer Lab, an independent testing authority, evaluated the major brands and found many lacking in content and quality. The highest potency products that passed their evaluation were Biotivia, Transmax and Bioforte. This is clearly a buyer beware situation.

  4. I recently read that some very serious, controlled studies are currently being conducted at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. OK, so my mom sent me the clipping, but it is indeed supposed to be the most comprehensive current ongoing research.
    Research which, no doubt, will pick up the pace again after the Steelers dispense of the Cardinals.

  5. I saw the segment last week and wrote about in my blog, unfortunately, I did not have this reference segment, so thank you for this video treat.
    As I am sure you are well aware, It is well known, that this original segment was the catalyst for the steady increase of wine consumption in USA.
    Similarly to Dylan’s comment on boredom for calorie restriction, I am afraid a Wine Pill, despite apparent health benefits, will do the same for me, boredom. 😉 I’ll stick to wine.

  6. I’m an avid wine drinker, and this piece made me think about the longevity of winemakers. This isn’t scientific, but check out the ages at death for some of the well known winemakers:

    (BV Beaulieu Vineyards)Andre Tchelistcheff: 92
    Robert Mondavi: 95
    Ernest Gallo: 99
    Julio Gallo: 83
    Peter Mondavi (still alive) in his 90’s

    They all died old and drank a lot of red wine.

  7. […] then there are things we can’t say.  You can’t make mention of any kind of the potential health benefits of drinking a glass or two of red wine.  Nope!  Not allowed.  Never mind that […]

  8. Tom,

    That’s fascinating. I do believe there’s a direct connection.

    I lost 25 lbs last year and did not reduce my wine consumption. A 6-ounce glass of dry red wine is about 125 calories. That’s easy to find elsewhere: 2 Oreos (120 cal.), 2 Hershey’s kisses (150 cal.), Starbucks latte (120 cal.).

    Wine contains polyphenols that inhibit the formation of cholesterol, which lowers the risk of ischaemic heart disease. As an antioxidant, these polyphenols also destroy free radicals, thus slowing the development of cancer cell. Findings by French scientist Serge Renaud.

    I’ll drink to that.

    Paul Kalemkiarian
    President, Wine of the Month Club

  9. […] that America became a wine-loving nation in 1991, when 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer narrated a segment on the health benefits of red wine. Mike Steinberger had always assumed Americans started getting […]

  10. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit analysis on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast simply because I located it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to talk about this, I feel strongly about it and love reading a lot more on this subject. If achievable, as you turn into expertise, would you mind updating your weblog with far more particulars? It can be extremely useful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

  11. […] diet lowered coronary disease and failure saw Americans reach for wine, particularly red. (View segment.) Since 1993, per capita consumption of wine has increased every […]


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.” -Forbes.com

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: