Others who have influenced Wedler are his Petaluma Junior High English teacher Elizabeth Sullivan, who taught Wedler to write, as well as Bob Jones, Wedler’s high school Spanish teacher whose love of the language inspired Wedler to learn Spanish as an aid to help with his career. Wedler now works with Jones at Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
At Coppola Winery, he works as the host of Tasting in the Dark each month, during which guests are blindfolded as they taste different wines. Being blindfolded allows participants to focus fully on the aromas and flavors of the wine, showing them a new way to experience and enjoy wine. During the tasting Wedler explains the different flavors that we find in wine and lets participants try to guess what is in each glass. “There’s something so special about people falling in love with a subject, and that’s what I love about wine, making people love it. And making people realize why they love it so much,” said Wedler.
After getting his Ph.D., Wedler plans to move back to Petaluma, where he will continue his work in the wine industry and possibly teach chemistry part time. Wedler’s reasons for coming back are evident when he says, “I love the people in Petaluma, I always have. This is where I learned to walk around and to navigate as a blind person. And this is the first town that I really [mapped] … I know the streets in this town like the back of my hand, I can walk anywhere.”
For those of you who want to experience Petaluma’s various scents, Wedler recommends a route starting in downtown Petaluma, driving out Western Avenue, then turning up Chileno Valley Road and going up by Helen Putnam Park. Roll down your windows to enjoy the air and breathe it in. As Wedler says, “Just focus in on [your] noses, because you’re in one of the best smelling places of the world.”
CLICK PAGE 3 TO LEARN WHERE WEDLER’S KEEN SENSES TAKE HIM IN PETALUMA FOR FOOD AND WINE AND SEE A SHORT VIDEO RECENTLY PUBLISHED BY THE SACRAMENTO BEE.