Blindfolded tastings: awaken your senses with Dr Hoby Wedler

Aug 30, 2022

Cover your eyes, bring the glass to your mouth and engage all your other senses. Have you ever tried a blindfolded tasting? In this post we’ll explain what they’re for, how they work and where you can get involved.

 “Blindfolded” tastings are often confused with the more traditional “blind” tastings, where participants taste the wine without seeing the label and which are now quite commonly offered by wineries and wine schools. Traditional blind tastings are often used by students who want to improve their knowledge in the field of wine, and are commonly a component in the final exam in numerous certification courses. Blindfolded tastings, on the other hand, are quite different, exploring that space between science, food and wine and art.

Dr Hoby Wedler – pioneer of blindfolded tastings

Dr. Hoby Wedler, wine educator with a PhD in Chemistry, has created a unique “blindfolded” wine tasting experience with the aim of creating a deeper sensory experience during tastings. Blind since birth, Dr Wedler has studied how we use the senses in perceiving and recording information around us. Although all five senses are used to receive 100% of the information we experience in daily life, sight is responsible for 85-90% of how we perceive the world around us.

In the tasting sessions created by Dr Wedler, an experience that you can experience at the wine2wine Business Forum 2022, participants explore sensory literacy, i.e. the ability to receive data from all five senses, to analyze them and draw logical conclusions. Participants are blindfolded and asked to prepare their own aromatic vocabulary with the help of specific samples of aromas prepared by Dr Wedler and his team. These samples define the terms of the olfactory vocabulary, just as a dictionary provides the definitions of words in written and spoken language. The experience ends with a group tasting of four wines that are smelled, tasted and analyzed in detail.

Why do a blindfolded tasting? 

This type of tasting has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially in the food and wine sector, which often describes the activity as an exercise in “mindful” eating or drinking. By temporarily removing the dominant sense and focusing all your attention on the product, participants experience the world without the distraction of sight. The main outcome is an attention to detail that consumers don’t typically experience. Additionally, participants gain a more profound understanding of the aroma or flavor of the product and are able to recognize the textures and flavors that they may not have noticed before. This can develop a better understanding of the product and lead to better decision-making around it.

Final Thoughts

If we use sight to understand 85-90% of the information sent to us by our surroundings, what happens when we temporarily eliminate this dominant sense and focus all our attention on the wine, without being distracted by what we see? This session is a though-provoking and fun opportunity to find out!

Tickets are now available for the ninth edition of wine2wine Business Forum, which will be held in Verona on 7 and 8 November 2022.

 Further information, as well as the full event program, can be found on the event website.