November 14th, 2008
10:53 PM ET
4 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. Lost in Texas

    I think this is one of those stories that are printed just to get folks riled up. Heck I wish an expensive dinner was the ONLY problem we had to worry about with this country. Baseball is about to start their free agent signings and look at all the money these guys are going to get in our bad economy. We'll complain about it sure, but we'll still buy those game tickets, jerseys, high priced food and parking to keep it all going. This isn't going to end anytime soon.

    November 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. David

    These are leaders of America...I would do the same. If you want a piece of it, go out and get it. Obama proved that anyone can do great things if they work hard and believe.

    November 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Luz in Texas

    After the meal, the world leaders will crack open the cellar's cognac and armagnac and laugh at the hoi polloi across the street: "Let them eat cake!"

    November 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Peter Konrad

    Maybe they should sell that stock at retail price and then put that money towards paying off the debt this administration has put us in. Every little bit counts!

    As for wine served at the party, maybe it'd nicer if it was a BYOB kind of event. Makes it more interesting!

    November 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. mark

    2003??

    2002 of the same wine was much more seamless and well balanced. too bad they couldn't afford the good stuff. :)

    on a serious note, the 2003 is still a bit young. i think 10 more years in the cellar can make this wine a much better drink.

    ah well.

    November 14, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. jim

    Just like the people who took our bail out money. The government who just keeps on giving – to the rich.

    And they scold AIG.

    I almost can't wait to get laid off so these people can't get anymore money from me!

    November 14, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. chuckles199

    it's government welfare.
    they don't care the rpeople are paying.

    what is the carbon footprint of all these private aircraft comin in?
    what's wrong with a tele-conference?

    November 14, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Pat in IL

    This isn't news....it's just trivia that only incites anger in those who want to make something of it. The wine was already purchased – world leaders should always be treated well – it's none of our business. What is our business is the issue of bailing out a car company which continually made bad decisions through the years, and using our tax money to make the bail out possible.

    November 14, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Westwood girl

    ... But it is kind of funny to hear about this wine price and not hear people quietly whistling the 'Internationale' to themselves...

    November 14, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. King

    Its good to be the King!!

    November 14, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. kayla

    am sure they would prefer to see sen. elect obama.

    November 14, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Mike Dallas

    Since there has only been 6 state dinners in 8 years, this is a bargain.

    November 14, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. Corpus Kristie

    On eBay right now, a bottle of Shafer "Hillside Select" '99 is selling for $429. Is it too late to pull a switcharoo with a few cases of Mogen David Blackberry and then do some "Buy It Now" listings on behalf of us taxpayers?

    November 14, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. haggis

    I don't see the problem. As the story says, the wine has been in the cellar for some time (probably since 2004 or 2005, given that it's the 2003 vintage). I would have a problem if they were going out and buying this wine specifically for this dinner, but that's not the case. It's already paid for. My only issue is that it is too young to drink!

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. lee75

    What a bunch of dummies. Must be a bunch of Republicans.

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. How about this.

    How about we distribute the country's wealth equally to everyone, so that there won't be any complaints.

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. Gerald

    So do you expect to have a meeting of world leaders drinking yellow tale Merlot and coolaid? This is not something to put into perspective. Grow up!!!

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Susan

    Let them drink Ripple.

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. Azrael

    Does anyone else just not find this crap amusing........

    November 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. CMJ

    This is why the common people over-threw royalty in France. They just couldn't stand seeing the opulence flaunted in their faces, when everyone else was in dire straights.

    November 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Joe in MN

    Bush wants to drink his stock before he leaves....

    November 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. Richard

    Bush just DOESN'T GET IT!

    Highest disapproval rating in the 60-year history and well-deserved.

    November 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. jaime@pdx

    You know, when people talk about hardship and you do not know first hand what that feels like, then you do not have any idea. I say that these VIPs should be served cheap wine and told that this is what most can afford, if even then.

    November 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. sandee in Portland

    Well, maybe the good wine will put them in a good mood to work through this crisis. Kind of a moot point though. Is this supposed to make us angry? Come on CNN, this is not news other than the fact that they're meeting.

    November 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Don

    I could almost agree with the poster who said we should not nit-pick...but for heavens sake...this is what is wrong with this country..taxpayers are paying for that wine..and we are paying for the bad mortgages...and we are paying for AIG retreats and bonuses..enough is enough. I don't expect anything to change.

    November 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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