What wine region is famous for having the world’s highest percentage of people over 100 years old?

A. Sardinia, Italy

B. Tokaji-Hegyalja, Hungary

C. Valais, Switzerland

D. Baden, Germany


Sardinia’s Nuoro province is thought to have the highest per-capita percentage of people over one hundred of anyplace in the world. And among those Sardinians who are “supercentenarians”—defined as people over 110—a surprising number are men. (Super centenarians worldwide tend to be women.) At first, researchers who studied the island’s population thought that the men in their studies were lying (“age exaggeration” is known to be common among men who are the “oldest old”). But civil and church records revealed that Sardinia’s male supercentenarians were telling the truth. What factors contribute to such longevity? Researchers point out that Sardinians get vigorous daily exercise throughout the day (thanks to mountain shepherding) and eat a diet composed of whole-grain sourdough breads, vegetables, fruits, pecorino cheese (a sheep’s milk cheese high in Omega-3 fatty acids), and mastic oil, a resinous oil from local mastic trees. They also consume three to four glasses of wine a day per person–spread over breakfast (yes, breakfast), lunch, and dinner. The local red wine Cannonau (possibly the same as Garnacha or a clone of Garnacha) is the leading variety, thought by researchers to provide antioxidant benefits and to preserve cognitive functioning in old age.

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