Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

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Thursday, May 11 – Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery (Temecula)
Thursday, June 8 – J. Lohr Wines (Paso Robles)
6 to 9 pm
Photos by: PHOTO CREDIT:  Jamie Pham

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.  Limited to 50 guests per dinner, the intimate evenings are open to guests ages 21 and older.

“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.
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.

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“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.

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