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

World leaders dine in style as they discuss financial crisis

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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

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. Jim

    The saddest part of all this is that CNN would make this an issue. The only purpose of doing so is to feed the anger by some in the country. There are plenty of reasons for citizens to be angry, but this is not one of them. Shame on CNN.

    November 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. David

    Those of you worried about feeding your kids or losing your jobs should not be wasting your time worrying about the price of wine at the G-20 summit. You think Obama would be serving anything less? Nope. Would this article even have been printed? Nope again. Media and miserable complainers – "GROW UP!"

    November 15, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. dlthompson

    the economic crisis is not intended to negatively affect the elite. That would be absurd. That would be like Al Gore living his life as though global warming were a reality...

    November 16, 2008 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  4. justme

    For Pete's sake; the president and his family don't even drink! Give it a rest.

    November 16, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Jay

    Why is this a shock? Politicians dine like this on a daily basis. Catered events and comped meals are the norm.

    November 17, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  6. WineLover

    Even though Hillside Select does sell in restaurants for as much as $500, and is very hard to find. Many fine wine makers donate cases of wine to the White House every year, so they can say their wine is being served there. Chances go this wine did not cost the taxpayers anything.

    November 17, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Alo Kievalar

    Wine? With the King of Saudi Arabia present? Tsk tsk.

    November 18, 2008 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  8. steve cox

    Its no wonder many journalist (and I use that word very lightly) are afraid to admit what they do when asked their occupation. This isn't news and if this is the best that Becky Brittan can do she should cover local junior high cafeterias lunches..."PrincipalAdams had two, not one, but two taxpayer lunches today for free"!!! Oh the outrage this will cause at the PTA meeting! Where is the connected story about the Obamas champagne and caviar dining during the bailout talks? Pathetic!

    November 18, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  9. Tyler

    Do you people think that someone from the WH went out and purchased this wine before the meal? It was in the White House CELLAR – i.e., already purchased. And to piggyback on what others have already said, if you were entertaining members of the G20 in your home, would you serve them Yellowtail and Velveeta & Crackers?

    November 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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