November 14th, 2008
10:53 PM ET
10 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. Desert Storm Vet

    Enjoy yourselves. We'll print more money.

    November 14, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Independent white female patriotic voter

    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.

    November 14, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. tai

    Yes excellent way to show the public how much you care

    November 14, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    That's fine, its part of the White House cellar already paid for. This article only incites jealousy and angst in the populace. Its totally OKAY for the president of the United States to wine and dine his guests.

    November 14, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. Alex

    I so want to see what they have in the White House wine cellar. I bet that was the only "reasonably" inexpensive wine in bulk.

    Can you imagine how many bottles they have? And I bet every president brought something special to the cellar.

    November 14, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. msbea ironic..."ladies and gentlemen, our economies are all going broke but we are all going down in style" no J.K....this is so ironic though

    November 14, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I'd like to have the bottles of wine the Saudis don't drink. There is a time to criticize spending, however this is not one of them.

    November 14, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Dean P Valencia Ca

    Must be nice to be a world leader. Of course they wouldn't skimp just because the little people have to.

    November 14, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Good use of tax dollars.

    November 14, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Angi's Mom

    Compliments from the taxpayers. Will this madness never end? (At least it appears to be an American wine.)

    November 14, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. Martin Howell

    And the rest of America will be dining on some lovely cheesy tots from the BK value menu and washing it down with Boone's Farm 2008.

    November 14, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    Someone tell me why this matters? You don't serve Coca-Cola to foreign dignitaries, you butter em up a bit.

    November 14, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Kina, NYC

    haha...i love this c'try...for those of u who think the gov't is gonna spend too much on these "so called" world leaders, wait 'til u see the receipt after they've all left the c'try...but is anyone gonna be surprised, really?..


    November 14, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Joe

    Is this seriously news? Do you really think serving world leaders a box of wine and a bag of chips is a good idea? Freaking media.

    November 14, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Los

    The best thing about this article is that it has nothing do do with Sarah Palin.

    November 14, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. Ken

    This is an outrage....................we need real leadership who will put an end to this waste.

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

    For that matter, a video conference would have been a more efficient way to discuss the issue.

    November 14, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  18. Maggie

    Independent white female – I agree. What do you people expect them to serve – Boone's Farm?

    November 14, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. cj

    LOL...I guess the Fred Sanford special (aka Ripple) was out of the question. Gotta love our government

    November 14, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. Robert Schumacher

    Nero (Bush) fiddles while Rome (the United States) burns...

    November 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. susan

    What a crappy way to show fiscal responsibility. Things like this make me sad. People are starving here in America. Food pantries are bare. This is ridiculous.

    November 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. LetsBeReasonable

    It's a state dinner. The way they choose to host other countries reflects on our country as a whole. We are still one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, and it is completely appropriate for us to entertain in this way. This is completely different than AIG throwing extravagant parties after getting bailout money.

    November 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. John Sullivan

    It is just the complete lack of concern. They are politicians. They know all about appearances. The Bush White House just doesnt care. It bails out mortgage bankers but is willing to let auto workers go unemployed. I can't stand it anymore.

    November 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. steven in VA

    Oh my god, let us not be so childish.

    What do you think President Obama or any future presidents will serve world leaders? A leftover sandwich from whitehouse kitchen?

    Since when, we become so cheap. Do you guys want president bush or obama s to wear clothes from swiftshops.

    November 14, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Chris in Va.

    This as I eat my brown bag lunch.......ham and cheese sandwich and chips.....hell, I might even splurge on a soft drink.

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