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Serge Renaud, the man who challenged the world to see wine as a benefit rather than a risk, recently died in Medoc, north of the city of Bordeaux. He was 85.

Renaud got his 15 minutes of fame when he appeared on 60 Minutes in 1991, arguing that the French had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than Americans because of their moderate consumption of wine, particularly red wine.

While the immediate reaction of the argument drove up wine sales in America, it also created a paradigm shift, one that will linger even though the scientist’s voice has been stilled.

While a glass of red wine is not the equivalent of going to the gym, more Americans today see it as a healthy option to include with dinner. If the French can get away with a fatty diet of decadence, Americans figure they’ll follow their lead.

We should raise a glass to Renaud for wine’s make-over. Clearly, no one sees a glass of wine as a guilty pleasure anymore.

 

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