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Farewell Morley Safer

UPDATE: Exactly a week after this post was published, Morley Safer passed away. May he rest in peace.

After more than seven decades in journalism, Morley Safer is retiring.

The longest-tenured member of 60 Minutes announced on Wednesday that he was calling it quits. From Adweek / TV Newser:

“After more than 50 years of broadcasting on CBS News and 60 Minutes I have decided to retire,” Safer said. “It’s been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air. Most of all I thank the millions of people who have been loyal to our broadcast.”

Why are you reading about this news on a wine blog? If you’re asking that question, then perhaps you are too young to know (or too old to remember) that Safer’s 1991 segment “The French Paradox” had an enormous impact on the wine business. In the segment, Safer uncovered to millions of American TV viewers the research about resveratrol — a compound found in red wine that scientists believe could have health benefits. This prime-time epiphany kick-started a steady rise in wine consumption in the USA that eventually made our country the world’s top wine consumer by volume.

Of course, Morley Safer didn’t convert Americans from beer drinkers to wine drinkers all by himself — tremendous efforts in creating and marketing consistently high quality wines by forward-thinking, innovative companies such as Banfi and Riunite were part of the transformation as well. But everyone in the wine industry must tip their cap to Safer for his role in helping put wine on American tables.

In honor of Safer’s long and storied career, 60 Minutes will air a special tribute titled “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life” on Sunday, May 15th, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

In the meantime, you can watch a few of Safer’s segments on “The French Paradox” below:

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Joe Janish is Director of Public Relations for Banfi Vintners, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), and a veteran of the wine industry for almost 20 years. He launched one of the first wine blogs back in 1997, the now-defunct “Wine Dictator,” and cut his teeth on his grandfather’s homemade wine. He still keeps a copy of Wine for Dummies nearby for reference.

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