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. Concerned Tax Payers

    ARE THESE HIPPOCRATS HERE REALLY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM???

    November 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Gigi from NY

    Good use of tax dollars. At least Obama "practices what he preaches."

    November 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. MikeH

    Remember that as the Titanic was sinking, the rich people were the first to be loaded into the life boats.

    Also be aware that on the Easter Island, the wealth caste depleted all the natural resources in order to build all those stone heads. The working caste revolted and ended up killing and eating the wealthy caste.

    Food for thought, so to speak.

    November 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. PL

    What does anyone expect from this adminstration? The entire bunch are losers. God I cann't wait until Jan. 20th at 12:00 noon.

    November 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Pepou

    Considering the state of the economy it is appropriate for our leaders to drink $500 bottle wine and dine in style !

    November 14, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. MLH

    Could they solve our problems more quickly over Chicken Tenders and Tater Tots, washed down with vintage Boones Farm?

    November 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. Paul in Pennsylvania

    Having grown up in the Washington area, I can testify that there are many excellent wine stores in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia where Napa Valley cabernets can be purchased for significantly less than $500. I encourage the relevant White House staff to make like the rest of us and shop around.

    November 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Aaron

    It wouldn't be so annoying if they weren't using our tax dollars, printing more money, or borrowing money to pay for it. It's also a bit insensitive given the number of people out of work and/or struggling to buy the basics. But, our current government of the people, rarely, if ever, operates along the same standards as those who are of privilege.

    November 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. josh rain

    whats wrong with it. it helps the economy? we need a consumer.
    if we don't spend, they rob our money and spend it for us.

    November 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Big Deal

    While it may be a PR nightmare, what would we have the WH staff serve? Coors Light in a can?? A world leader needs to command respect, and one way of doing that is to show power in subtle ways.

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Mike -Pittsford, NY

    While my dinner tonight consisted of 2-fried eggs, baked beans and a muffin perhaps Laura Bush might enlighten me on just what exactly she ment by "it was an appropriate time for The White House to use this stock."
    And by the way – wasn't it the President of France who spear headed this meeting and not Bush?

    Americans don't lack confidence in the market – we lack confidence in our government to resolve the problem. Oh well – cheers.

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Matt

    When world leaders are visiting the Whitehouse you don't serve them koolaid.

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. janet, ohio

    Get. Over. It. Your children are not, nor have they ever had to be, begging for bread on the streets. Stop whining for one minute about someone having more than you do, and think about how many in the world have so much less. And maybe you could even thank God for His blessings.

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Anj

    It should have been BYOB... sheesh

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Andy

    Report on something that matters. Ridiculous! I could care less.

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. not a plummer

    This article sounds like its from TMZ, or Inside Edition, i though CNN was better then that.

    As for what they were doing? They are high society, and they were discussing our economic issues, but it was a high society event too.

    I am not high society, but i at least understand that we will do what fits to as we are.

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. JIM...TX

    Old Georgie probably figures what the hell...sort of his "last supper" !

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. nate

    I'm just happy they haven't actually started drinking our blood yet. Take the wine, and our rights and our taxes, and our sons and daughters, and our jobs, and our savings and.............

    November 14, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Katie - San Francisco

    This is more than just an excellent wine, it is one of the top representations of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags' Leap District. Shafer Hillside Select is the result of the hard work and dedication of the Shafer family and their winemaker, Elias Fernandez. They deserve to have their wine showcased by our President to foreign dignitaries.

    November 14, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. mijunkin

    Is this charged to the $700 billion economic stimulus tab? I mean, they might as well. They're talking about the economy, right? This is pathetic.

    November 14, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Patricia in Las Vegas

    I would expect the White House to serve a nice wine, definitely not "Two Buck Chuck" but that does seem a tad pricy for a bottle of vino. Perhaps someone from Stags Leap, Napa can explain themselves.

    November 14, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. angie in dallas 28

    are you kidding me????????

    how ridiculous. They really are looking to incite a revolt aren't they.
    Then they can enforce Martial Law and put us in the FEMA concentration camps. BUT none of you will even know about that because this too will be unseen courtesy of moderation,

    November 14, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Hilary

    And to think we still have starving children here in the U.S. ....

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Barbara in NC

    Hey – they served a ten-course meal on the Titanic just before it sank. The wine, etc., seems like a mere pittance for the ones who are the rats this time. Lifeboats anyone?

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Theresa

    You've got to be kidding!! No wonder why we have a "Global" recession!!

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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