Los Angeles Zoo’s Annual Sustainable Wine+dinner Series Celebrates Commitment to Conservation, Spotlights Sustainability and Features Seasonally Inspired, Multi-course Farm-to-table Dinners, Each Course Paired with Selections from Local Wineries


March 2, 2018

Photo by Jamie Pham

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) annual Sustainable Wine+Dinner Series returns with a spotlight on the institution’s ongoing commitment to conservation with four upcoming evenings on Thursday, March 22, April 26, May 31, and June 28, 6 to 9 p.m. The Zoo is partnering with local, environmentally friendly vineyards whose wines serve as the inspiration for custom four-course, farm-to-table dinner menus created by Zoo Executive Chef Brad Robertson. The series focuses on sustainability – from agriculture to food and wine production to wildlife conservation. Each evening explores a different topic and features conversations with a curator or keeper, up-close animal encounters, and wine introductions by winery representatives.

Event Snapshot

3/22 Fiddlehead Cellars (Lompoc)

4/26 Ramona Ranch Winery (Ramona)

5/31 Robert Hall Winery (Paso Robles)

6/28 Ancient Peaks Winery (Santa Margarita)

6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“This series offers a fun and unique way to meet others who share a common appreciation for wildlife, wine, and great food,” comments Sara Rodriguez, director of events for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Robertson adds, “It’s a chance to showcase Southern Californian bounty in wine and food from fantastic local producers in an amazing night out. It’s a unique and unforgettable date-night environment — and a lot of fun. This partnership is meant to share the many occasions when the missions of the chefs, the Zoo, and winemakers converge in a truly remarkable evening.”

“Dinner Digest” is the theme for March 22, held in Ludden Plaza inside the L.A. Zoo’s Australia habitat, and features Fiddlehead Cellars. Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the essence of two distinguished varietals—Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Before falling in love with viticulture, Kathy was on course to pursue a career in medicine with degrees in microbiology and biochemistry, disciplines that also play a significant role in winemaking. Join Animal Keeper Kevin Gorowski for a visit with the Zoo’s koalas and a glimpse at how microbiology and biochemistry make it possible for this marsupial species to survive on a diet that would be toxic to other animals.

April 26, is themed “Raptors and Reptiles,” set to take place on the Cambodia Terrace at Elephants of Asia, and features Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery. Ramona Ranch Vineyard has been certified a sustainable vineyard and winery by the California Wine Institute. The winery has focused on sustainability since it was established in 2004, and was recently recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The vineyard features wind turbine and solar generators, owl boxes, and an insectary that attracts beneficial bugs and birds to improve the biodiversity of the farm. A wide range of wildlife resides at the winery, including several native raptors and beneficial snakes. Learn about some of the Zoo’s local raptors and reptiles with Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio.

“Native and Natural,” held inside the Amazonian stilt house of the Rainforest of the Americas on May 31, features Robert Hall Winery.  Some of the Robert Hall Winery’s sustainability practices include preserving and restoring the property’s native oak trees, and offering protected habitat for wildlife. Cover crops are grown between the vines to decrease soil erosion. Located throughout the vineyards are owl boxes that are specifically designed to attract barn owls, which manage pests. Learn about the importance of native plants and natural pest control with Lili Singer of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Native Plants and Wild Flowers and Curator of Birds Mike Maxcy.

The series concludes on June 28, with Ancient Peaks Winery with the theme “For the Generations” at Mahale Mountains, home to the Zoo’s multigenerational chimpanzee troop. Ancient Peaks Winery represents the shared vision of three longtime local wine producing and ranching families with a commitment to sustainable practices that will ensure the health of their vineyards and the surrounding habitat for generations to come. Zoos make commitments to protect endangered species by maintaining sustainable populations of the animals in their care. Discover what makes the Zoo’s chimpanzee program a model for zoos around the world and how our support and expertise are applied to vital conservation efforts in the field. Curator of Primates Candace Sclimenti will introduce the multigenerational troop, one of the largest in North America, and share stories about a recent trip to Cameroon train staff at Limbe Wildlife Centre and Ape Action Africa.

Tickets to each evening in the series are $150 per person/$140 per GLAZA member. Seating is limited, and advance online ticket purchase is required. The event is open to adults age 21 and older.

To purchase tickets, please visit: www.lazoo.org/sustainablewinedinners

Vegetarian options available upon request during online ticket purchase.

Programs and dinner locations subject to change.

About the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA)

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.

About the Los Angeles Zoo

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which holds member institutions to rigorous professions standards for animal welfare, the Los Angeles Zoo is renowned as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, the L.A. Zoo is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.

The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.