November 14th, 2008
10:53 PM ET
3 years ago

World leaders dine in style as they discuss financial crisis

Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003 can go for as much as $500 a bottle.
Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003 can go for as much as $500 a bottle.

(CNN) – The global economy may be undergoing a significant downturn, but the White House's dinner budget still appears flush with cash.

After all, world leaders who are in town to discuss the economic crisis are set to dine in style Friday night while sipping wine listed at nearly $500 a bottle.

According to the White House, tonight's dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as "Fruitwood-smoked Quail," "Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb," and "Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus."

To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on Wine.com.

The exceedingly pricey wine may seem a bit peculiar given leaders are in Washington to discuss a possible world financial meltdown, but Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for Laura Bush, said it "was the most appropriate wine that we had in the White House wine cellar for such a gathering.

McDonough also said the White House purchased the wine at a "significantly lower price" than what it is listed at.

"Of course the White House gets its wine at wholesale prices," she said. "Given the intimate size of the group, it was an appropriate time for The White House to use this stock."

The leaders of the U.K., France, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and 11 developing economies have all come to Washington at the behest of President Bush in an effort to express confidence in the fundamental underpinnings of the world's economy.

– CNN's Becky Brittain contributed to this report


Filed under: White House
soundoff (541 Responses)
  1. we need something new- from OH

    its important to make your guests feel at home. its important for the u.s. to be hospitable. its like when your mother in law is coming over to the house even though you lost your job a couple of months ago. you don't want her to see you living badly... give the white house a break!

    November 14, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Jonathan O'Brien

    I think this is perfectly appropriate. The wine was probably for free or for cost to the manufacturer. The outrage would be if the white house served wine from some other country.

    I've never had $500 wine but I would never begrudge any president, no matter how unpopular, the bounty of his nation.

    November 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Andyb

    The argument that the wine has been bought and paid for already is false.

    Expensive wine can be sold instead of consumed.

    I hope that they don't have enough in store to make a dent in the deficit, but one never knows...

    November 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Gman

    Hey!!! The world is going to end soon, why not drink the good stuff!!!!

    November 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. Lawrence in Denver

    As concerned as I am regarding the economy and as big of a critic I am towards G.DUBYA, I can say this is all okay. These are world leaders. Even families down the street making 6 figures are welcome to enjoy expensive bottles of wine. WHO CARES! If you all had the money i'm sure you would be doing the same. Some of us who should be cooking at home or eating off the dollar menu at McDonald's are rather going to eat at expensive steakhouses.

    In other words, who cares!

    ~Lawrence

    November 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Andyb

    "For God's sake, let's not pick apart everything, including the wine they're serving to world leaders. Things have been done this way for ever, let's not get patheitic."

    The very reason we are in this mess is that everyone has been doing things "this way for ever".

    Now is the time to start fresh...and sober.

    November 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Monica

    This is going a little overboard. You might as well criticize the president for living in that huge mansion...

    November 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. TJ

    There are real examples of wasteful government spending out there worthy of reporting, however this is not one of them.

    November 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Dave

    Maybe it will trickle down

    November 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. bk

    Whats the difference? We have to pay for Obama's mother in law to live in the White House.

    November 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. please

    what, do want to give the world leaders a bottle of boones? Lets worry about more important stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm always up for sticking it to Bush, but this is ridiculous.

    November 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Mel

    they're stimulating the economy.

    November 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. city guy

    I dont know about everyone else, but nothing says "financial meltdown" to me like being forced to eat quail and drink $500 wine. I'll bet just seeing that on the menu drove the message home...

    November 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. lovethatdirtywater

    I wonder what was Nero drinking...?

    November 14, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. mike Newman

    Yep, George W. just does not get it. Millions of Americans, many of whom probably voted for him, have lost their jobs.. and their savings! Reminds me of how the French Revolution started....Let them eat cake, is the phrase that I recall.... well let the G-7 drink $500 wine... hope that they all sleep well while we working folks worry about feeding our kids!

    November 14, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Well I certainly wouldn't want our country to be serving Boone's Farm! Anything in that cellar is fair game....

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Frank Lee

    Don't forget the Lame Duck at the top of the menu – it's always a favorite.

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Independent Dave, Iowa

    I like beer. Bud Select 2008, $6.50 / six pack.

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. please

    what, do want to give the world leaders a bottle of boones? Lets worry about more important stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm always up for sticking it to Bush, but this is ridiculous.

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. Johanna

    This is not news, they always do this. How about report more on the CEO that get a grip of money from these bailouts.

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Ken Brown

    The liberal media will continue to find something, anything, to make a big deal out of concerning President Bush. This is the United States of America. The President is hosting 20 world leaders, you would rather prefer the White House serve Mad Dog wouldn't you?? Go find a story that the American people are concerned about.

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. meow mix

    who cares, getting so sick of these irrelevant articles

    November 14, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. d

    Interesting. It looks like Canada, Australia and the US are under the developing economies.

    "The leaders of the U.K., France, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and 11 developing economies"

    November 14, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Canadian

    Just a point of order...Canada is also one of the countries there and last time I checked we aren't a 'developing country'...we've actually been rated as having the best banking system in the world. It's about time those south of the border look to the north for direction and give us the respect we deserve.

    November 14, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. Larry

    Hey Laura ...

    Bring out the good stuff

    Don't want those Dems. to get it .. Hey, Hey ...

    November 14, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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