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!