White House serves a pricey Napa Valley wine, CNN tries to stir up some controversy

by TrevR on November 19, 2008

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Late last week CNN ran a story detailing the menu (food and drink) that was on tap for a White House dinner to kick-off the G-20 summit.

As world leaders assembled to discuss the global economic situation, CNN reported they were due to enjoy a Shafer Vineyards Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, which can cost up to $500 per bottle. CNN took the angle that consuming such a pricey wine wasn’t appropriate given the current economic situation and was quite ironic considering the dinner itself was taking place around the G-20 summit. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

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.

The key takeaway for us in that statement is “in the White House wine cellar”–it certainly doesn’t sound like the White House went out and purchased a bunch of expensive wine specifically for the dinner. Add that to the fact that McDonough goes on to state that the White House purchases its wine at a “significantly lower price” than what it typically lists for seems to make this a non-story in our mind.

Earlier this week we caught up with Shafer Vineyards‘ Andy Demsky, who had this to say about the whole thing:

Truth is, it’s a big thrill to have your wines served at the White House – that never goes away. We can all (U.S. wineries) thank Lyndon Johnson for mandating that only American wines be served at White House functions. Since the ’60s they’ve showcased American wines to the world and have done so whether we were in good economic times or bad…Probably can’t ask the food and beverage folks at the White House to select a wine of the night based on that day’s Dow Jones performance.

We couldn’t agree more Andy, seems like the folks at CNN were perhaps trying to stir up a bit of controversy on a slow news day.

What do you think about all this? Let us know in the comments.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, Shafer, Shafer Cabernet, white house wine, Shafer White House, G20 summit menu]

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About the Author

has written 726 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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