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White House

The Shocking, Top Secret White House Wine List Barack Obama Didn't Want You to See

The Shocking, Top Secret White House Wine List Barack Obama Didn't Want You to See

Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Mystery solved. As Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev reported this week, the White House was ultra-secretive about which wines would be served at Wednesday’s state dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron. The administration had also kept private the wine list for a state dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel last June.

This was strange, since presidents have traditionally used such events to promote American vineyards. The speculation was that, after President Obama took flak for serving pricey vintages at a state dinner in January 2011 for Chinese President Hu Jintao, the White House clammed up. Profiles in courage, these guys.

As it turns out, one of the guests at the dinner was Eric LeVine, founder of Cellar Tracker, a wine website. His wife is Suzi LeVine, a big-time Obama bundler. On his blog he listed the bottles the White House served, which included:

A 2009 Peter Michael Chardonnay Ma Belle-Fille, Sonoma County, California (average price $97 for 750ml on

A 2008 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Washington (average price $97 for 750ml on

An Iron Horse Vineyards sparkling wine, Sonoma County, California

So now the truth is out: At the White House, they serve good expensive wine at state dinners honoring leaders of foreign nations, as opposed to serving crappy cheap wine. LeVine also reports that appetizers included “a mix of crostini and other small bites.” This is shocking, indeed.

Kosova is Washington editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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