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A Wine Lifestyle is Key to Aging like a Fine Wine

If Ponce de León bloodied me up with righteous indignation and jabbed capsules of Resveratrol into my mouth, I still might be a skeptic of the health benefits of the antioxidant found in red wine, taken in pill form.

Likewise, if Morley Safer did a reverse chronological piece on the French Paradox every Sunday from now until 1991, I still might scratch my head with dubiosity.

The problem I have with the excitement over the health benefits of wine (in the form of huckterism around Resveratrol, especially) is the same issue I have with drinking gallons of pomegranate juice – it’s all tactics. 

What’s the strategy?

Obviously, every New Year’s millions of people take a renewed interest in their health, attempting to turn over a new leaf—eating healthier, taking vitamins and working out.

Now, mind you, I’m no different.  I love New Year’s for goal setting (and subsequent goal lapses).  My physical activity level (amongst other things) is something I always address with some level of annual futility.

The reason I’m not as successful as I would like to be with my goal-setting is probably the same reason millions of others fail:  our goals don’t tie into a larger whole.

Enter: THE BIG PICTURE

Exhibit A: Longevity

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If I want to live to be 100 like my Grandma (still with us at 101), I now have the map to de León’s Fountain of Youth.

And, the good news, of course, is that a wine lifestyle greatly aids and abets that goal!  Setting a goal to live to 100 using wine as a lifestyle tool?  Now, that’s something I can rally around – longevity is something much more interesting then snarfing expensive Resveratrol pills to reduce possible heart disease.

In 2008 author and adventure anthropologist Dan Buettner published, “The Blue Zone:  Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”

In that book, based on academic and field-based research (still ongoing –a Greek Isle is being researched now), Buettner reviewed areas of four countries with the highest density of centenarians.  In examining commonalities between Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, California, Buettner lays out the nine fundamentals for a healthy, long-lived life.

As mentioned, looking at the nine tenets (called the “Power Nine”), it’s not hard to extrapolate how a life lived through the prism of the wine glass, as I like to say, can be the key to longevity ...

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Wine lovers rejoice; from Buettner’s “Blue Zone” book – the Power Nine secrets to a long life:

1) Move

The point here (according to Buettner) isn’t necessarily exercise proper, as our bodies aren’t designed for significant wear and tear; the point is physical activity, on a daily basis.  Gardening or viticulture definitely counts as does winery/vineyard tours and frequent trips to the cellar.

2) 80/20 Rule on Calories

This one is easy – cut calories by 20% by finishing your meal when you feel 80% full.  A glass of wine and eating properly at the table instead of conveniently and on the go greatly aids this, as well.

3) Plant Power

Reduce meat proteins and processed foods.  No problem here.  Reducing anything that comes in packaging while increasing food that comes from the ground sounds like a good idea, particularly if it can be paired with Riesling.

4) Drink Red Wine

This is our ticket to ride – two glasses a day, more or less.  Moderation is the key. Socially lubricated = okay.  Drunk = not such a good idea.

5) Find your Purpose

Now, admittedly, if finding your purpose was easy millions of people wouldn’t go through life as lost souls, but I interpret this to mean that we need to find and nurture a passion.  For me and most reading this, obviously, a significant passion is wine and the lifelong quest for wine knowledge.  This is definitely as noteworthy as making money for “The Man” for 40 years, which is a necessity for most, but not a passion.

6) Downshift

In a go-go world, this maxim says that anything that can be done to reduce stress and to find time in the day to decompress is beneficial.  Is there a more perfect match than an hour of contemplative thought and a glass of wine?  A glass with dinner, a glass with a good (wine) book for decompression.  Yes!

7) Belong

Stay social and active with a network of likeminded people.  Believe in something bigger than yourself.  Hello?  Can you say, “Wine lovers unite?”  A soft aspect of this, according to the author, is doing something “ritualistic.” Without being a heathen, I think it’s fair to note that there is a significant spirituality to wine and if you don’t think so, then maybe BioDynamics can fill the gap.

8) Nurture your Family

Honor those close to you.  Not sure how exact the wine angle is here, but certainly spreading your passion is restorative.  The point here is to create connective tissue a layer deeper than your network of likeminded friends in social engagement.

9) Nurture Your Tribe

One of the interesting aspects of the Power Nine research is that the single most important thing you can do to enhance longevity is to associate with the right people.  We subconsciously model behavior from those of influence around us –“You’re known by the company you keep” is very apropos.  Wine lovers and whiskey drinkers don’t mix.  Choose accordingly.

In summary, according to the author, the three most important aspects – changes that can add three to six years to your life – are putting your family first, belonging to a community and having a sense of purpose – all aspects, with the six other areas of the “Power Nine,” that can tie into a wine lifestyle.

Fortunately for me, these worthy changes in resolution aren’t in pill form and can be found by enhancing my existing enjoyment of wine. 

Forget the Resveratrol, bring on the wine lifestyle on the path to happy, old age!



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