Leon Panetta’s prize for Osama’s capture: $10,000 bottle of wine
on 27/10/11 at 9:10 amWine
The libation will be the result of a bet made by Monterey restaurateur Ted Balestreri, co-owner of the Sardine Factory on Cannery Row, at a dinner party last New Year’s Eve with 28 friends in the restaurant wine cellar.
Among those in on the bet: then-CIA Director Leon Panetta and his wife, Sylvia Panetta.
“I was talking about the wine collection,” Balestreri recalled Tuesday, “and somebody asked me what was the oldest bottle of wine I had.”
It was a bottle of 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, “and I told them I wasn’t going to serve it up,” he said.
“But I said, ‘If Leon catches Osama bin Laden, we’ll open that bottle.’”
Panetta immediately replied, “You’re on!”
Balestreri said that at the time, he was kidding.
Five months later, on May 1, he was having dinner at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club with friends when he received a phone call.