UPDATE: April 23, 2015 – I guess our article inspired the Press Democrat to shine the light on Hoby in Popular blind wine tasting an inspiration BY PEG MELNIK THE PRESS DEMOCRAT.
Petaluma native Hoby Wedler has always been blind. Born with microphthalmia, a rare eye abnormality, Wedler lives in a world not dominated by sight, allowing him to explore the world through his other senses.
Always curious about the world around him, Wedler enjoys and has become an expert at identifying and categorizing things by their scents and tastes. “I’ve always paid attention to my nose and what I smell around me,” said Wedler. “Whenever I come to Petaluma from anywhere that I’ve been … Petaluma always smells fresh and incredible. And I love the smell of grass. Of fresh blooming grass mixed with manure and mixed with the smell of farm and also the smell of fresh coastal influences … another aroma that I love is Petaluma just after the rain when you really get those fresh green smells, those almost wooded smells, it’s absolutely stellar. Can’t get enough of it.”
As a child, Wedler loved growing up in Petaluma, which always had a sense of truly being home for him. “There’s so much going on in the world around us, but we can always come back to this town and feel secure,” said Wedler. “I love the sense of ownership that everybody gets who’s grown up here. We own a little piece of this … you feel a sense of this town is mine.”
Wedler graduated from Petaluma High School in 2005 and now goes to UC Davis, where he is working on a Ph.D. in computational organic chemistry. His love for chemistry stems from his time at Petaluma High, where he took chemistry from Lee Boyes. Wedler recalls, “It was her constant love of chemistry that she brought to the class, talking about how amazing it was, how cool it was to work in the chemical field. Another thing about Ms. Boyes is that she just had an infectious desire to teach.”
CLICK ON PAGE 2 TO LEARN MORE ON WEDLER’S “TASTING IN THE DARK” CLASS AT COPPOLA WINERY