Wine Safari at the Zoo

Toledo Local Features  |  02/27/2009 7:00 pm

The Toledo Zoo might be known for its animals from all over the world, but this spring it’s adding alcohol to its repertoire.

Vineyard Adventures offers wine enthusiasts a chance to sample wines from all corners of the globe in fun, yet adult settings like the African Lodge and Rose Garden.

“We have a unique venue being that we’re a zoo and what we’re able to do is change up the venue each time,” said Andi Norman, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the zoo. “To come and do a wine tasting in someplace like the aquarium is really different.”

Vineyard Adventures is a series of events throughout the spring, early summer and fall. The most recent event kicks off March 7 at the aquarium and features “Wines from Down Under.” Following that is a “Best of the West” tasting at the African Lodge April 4, “Mediterranean Adventure” in the Rose Garden May 29, and a “Halloween Vineyard Adventure” October 30.

Vineyard Adventures began as a component of Frozentoesen, the zoo’s activity packed winter event, nearly a decade ago.

“We were coming up with a variety of events for people of all ages to kick the winter blues and also remind people we’re open because some people think we close in the winter when this came to mind,” said Andi. “It’s also a way to show off our amazing catering department and rental facilities.”

Each event lets wine lovers sample wines inspired by each theme, which adds up to around 12 to 16 wines per event. Not to worry if your knowledge of wines is miniscule--the zoo will have wine experts on hand to explain every nuance and undertone of each sip. The zoo’s catering staff will also prepare hors-devours to complement the wine selection.

The fun doesn’t have to stop at the gates. A majority of the wines featured are available at local wine shops. The zoo will also have a selection of wine accessories with animal themes and each attendee receives their own keepsake wine glass.

As always, the zoo’s mission of conservation carries over into the event, since some of the wines served were bottled in vessels made from recycled materials. There will also be a few organic wines on hand. Attending the event will also make you feel good about partaking in the merriment. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to benefit the Toledo Zoo and its mission.

“Wines from Down Under,” the first event in the Vineyard Adventures series takes place March 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the aquarium. Admission to one tasting is $35 per person for zoo members and $40 per person for non-members. Special pricing is available to attend all or some of the tastings, but vary in price depending on membership. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance by calling 419-385-5721, extension 3092.