Hoby Wedler

Dr. Hoby Wedler is an insightful, disarming, and passionate thinker who loves to bring people together to help them see new possibilities. With the heart of a teacher, Hoby helps turn dreams into realities. Hoby has been completely blind since birth. He is a chemist, an entrepreneur, a sensory expert, and is driven by his passion for innovative, creative, and insightful thinking. Hoby is remarkably tuned into his surroundings and has frequently chosen to walk the unbeaten paths in life over known territories. In 2016, Hoby earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Davis. His fearlessness is infectious, and he has actively paved the way for others to join him in his quest to follow passions regardless of the challenges that lie ahead. In 2011, Hoby founded a non-profit organization to lead annual chemistry camps for blind and visually impaired students throughout North America. In the same year, he began opening doors to the world of wine aromas by developing Tasting in the Dark, a truly blindfolded wine experience, in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola. He has since expanded the program to a global market in a variety of industries and special projects. Hoby uses his highly-trained palate and acute sensory insight of his surroundings in his work as a sensory expert and product development consultant. Over the years, Hoby has become a motivational speaker, a mentor, and an educator committed to making the world more inclusive and accessible for all. Hoby also co-founded a gourmet seasonings company, Hoby’s Essentials and is co-founder of Senspoint, a Creative and Marketing firm who works with anyone committed to creating positive impact. In Hoby’s work, you will find a unique trilogy between sensory awareness, scientific knowledge, and a love for sharing his insights. Numerous people and organizations have recognized Hoby’s work over the years. To name a few, President Barack Obama recognized Hoby by naming him a Champion of Change for enhancing employment and education opportunities for people with disabilities. Also, Forbes Media named Hoby as a leader in food and drink in their 30 under 30 annual publication. In 2021, Hoby was named a 40 under 40 Tastemaker by The Wine Enthusiast. Hoby is dedicated to impacting everyone he works with by unlocking doors, overcoming challenges, increasing awareness, and expanding their horizons.

The Blind Guy’s Guide to Blind Tasting

We use all five senses to take in 100% of the information we experience in life. Eyesight comprises 85-90% of this information. Why? We will discuss and attempt to answer this question during this session. Sensory literacy is the ability to be able to take in data from all five senses, parse that data, and make logical conclusions. We will explore sensory literacy.

Wine is a beverage that we all think we know and love. But when have we had the opportunity to taste wine without eyesight? In this educational and entertaining presentation, Dr. Hoby Wedler, Wine Educator and Ph.D. chemist, will walk participants through how wine is a near perfect example of the intersection of art and science. When we think about art and science, we tend to separate them into separate buckets in our minds. However, they are extraordinarily similar and have an exceptionally fine intersection between them. Wine straddles this introduction brilliantly and this presentation will explore this concept along with many more by considering both scientific and artistic aspects of grape growing, wine making, and wine tasting.

Guests will be blindfolded and asked to prime their aromatic vocabularies with a series of aroma samples prepared by Hoby and his team. These aroma samples define olfactory vocabulary words, much like a dictionary provides definitions to words in written and spoken language. The experience will conclude with a tasting of four wines where we will smell, taste, and analyze the four wines in detail as a group.

We use our eyesight to obtain 85-90% of the information we take in from our surroundings. What happens when we temporarily remove such a dominant sense and focus all our attention on wine when we are not distracted by eyesight? Come join the fun and find out! We guarantee that it will be a memorable experience nothing like any other you have experienced before.