Wine Taster Uses Blindness to Advantage

Hoby Wedler was born blind and curious 27 years ago.

He’s used those two traits — and a refined sense of smell and taste — to develop an expert palette that is garnering rave reviews in California’s wine region.

The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday ( ) that Wedler’s monthly “Tasting in the Dark” series at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery is growing in popularity. Participants are blindfolded and asked to taste and judge wine like Wedler does.

“He’s bringing a new dimension to our field and getting people to look at wine in a different way. It’s breaking down barriers,” said Corey Beck, president and director of winemaking at the Geyserville winery. “Here’s somebody who’s blind, and he’s better at describing the wine than 99.9 percent of the winemakers out there.”

He’s been asked to put his palette to work tasting beer and food as well. The Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico sold out a “Tasting in the Dark” beer tasting event hosted by Wedler.