Los Angeles Zoo Continues Popular Sustainable Wine+dinner Series Celebrating Commitment to Conservation


April 14, 2017


Thursday, April 27 – Malibu Family Wines (Malibu)
Thursday, May 11 – Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery (Temecula)
Thursday, June 8 – J. Lohr Wines (Paso Robles)
6 to 9 p.m.
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens



As part of its 50th Anniversary “Zoo-LAbration,” the Los Angeles Zoo continues its Sustainable Wine+Dinner Series to celebrate an ongoing commitment to conservation, with three upcoming evenings on Thursday, April 27, Thursday, May 11, and Thursday, June 8, 2017, 6 to 9 pm, at the Zoo.  The series spotlights sustainability – from agriculture to food and wine production to wildlife conservation – and each evening focuses on a different topic and features conversations with a curator or keeper, up-close animal encounters, and wine introductions by representatives from a local winery or vineyard that shares the Zoo’s commitment to sustainable living.  Guests enjoy a seasonally inspired, five-course, farm-to-table dinner created by the Zoo’s executive chef, Brad Robertson, where each course is paired with wines from the evening’s featured winery.  Limited to 50 guests per dinner, the intimate evenings are open to guests ages 21 and older.

“This series offers a fun and unique way to meet others who share a common appreciation for wildlife, wine and great food,” says Sara Rodriguez, Director of Events for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.  “The program provides guests the opportunity to hear directly from winemakers about wines and the winery’s commitment to sustainability.  Plus, each dinner includes a special speaker to highlight an L.A. Zoo conservation project or initiative.  These dinners have become one of our most popular events — selling out in just days!”

The Thursday, April 27 Sustainable Wine+Dinner evening, themed “Happy Trails,” is set on the terraces of the L.A. Zoo’s Mahale Mountains and features Los Angeles’ own Malibu Family Wines.  The Santa Monica Mountains, home to Malibu Wines’ Saddlerock Ranch, is also an important wildlife habitat.  Griffith Park’s celebrity mountain lion, P-22, originated in the Santa Monica Mountains, and his story has brought much attention to the issues of habitat fragmentation and wildlife corridors.  Guests at the evening enjoy wines of this biodiverse region while learning about the importance of protected migration paths for its native wildlife from conservation biologist and wildlife ecologist Anthony J. Giordano, founder and director of S.P.E.C.I.E.S., The Society for the Conservation of Endangered Carnivores.

The “Happy Trails” menu begins with popcorn shrimp ceviche, gorgonzola dulce arancini, and chilled breakfast radishes with prosciutto butter, paired with 2015 Semler Rose.  Next, guests are served a tomato tart with pea shoots, basil, smoky eggplant and yogurt alongside 2015 Saddlerock Sauvignon Blanc.  The main courses include duck breast with beets, spring onions, fennel purree and honey gastrique, paired with 2014 Semler King of the Mountains Cuvee, and braised beef cheek with confit potatoes, watercress and melted cippolinis, paired with 2013 Semler Malbec.  For dessert, guests can indulge in buttermilk panna cotta with strawberry-thyme jam, vanilla mousse and pie crumble, complemented by NV Saddlerock Sparkling Brut.

“Birds of a Feather,” held inside the Amazonian stilt house of the L.A. Zoo’s Rainforest of the Americas on Thursday, May 11, features Temecula’s Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery.  One of the Palumbo Family Vineyards’ many commitments to sustainability is its use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.  This strategy involves creating conditions that promote beneficial microbes, insects, and other organisms to reduce the need for conventional chemical pest and weed control.  An important part of IPM is the presence of raptors such as owls and hawks that naturally control rodents.  This special dinner experience includes a presentation by a representative of the winery and a talk by Mike Maxcy, the L.A. Zoo’s Curator of Birds, about sustainable farming practices and the importance of animals such as raptors—with an appearance by some the Zoo’s feathered residents.

On Thursday, June 8, dine in proximity to the Peninsular pronghorn for “The Dry Life,” featuring J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, which is committed to sustainable cultivation methods, including water conservation.  By implementing a wide-ranging water conservation plan (everything from streamlining barrel washing procedures to increasing the capacity of the wastewater treatment facility to installing low flow/high pressure hose nozzles), J. Lohr was able to reduce the amount of water needed to produce one gallon of wine from 3.5 gallons in 2003 to 1.1 gallons in 2012.  Peninsular pronghorn are also water conservationists.  This subspecies of American pronghorn is native to arid desert and semi-desert regions in Baja California, Mexico.  More compact than their larger cousins found on the Great Plains, they obtain much of the moisture they need to survive from the sagebrush, shrubs, grasses, and cacti that they eat.  Enjoy this dinner along with a special talk by the L.A. Zoo’s Curator of Mammals, Josh Sisk.

Programs and dinner locations subject to change.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens marks its 50th anniversary with a yearlong “ZooLAbration” of its November 28, 1966, opening that spotlights not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals.  Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the 50th anniversary coincides with the early planning stages of a new Master Plan for the future.  The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats.  Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats.  The Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world.  Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Tickets to each evening in the series are $150 per person/$130 per GLAZA member.  Seating is limited, and reservations are required.  The event is open to adults age 21 and older.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For tickets, call 866-949-8007 or visit http://www.lazoo.org/sustainablewinedinners/