Blindness Didn't Stop Hoby Wedler From Being Successful

Feb 23, 2018

Hoby Wedler uses tactile models to demonstrate how he "visualizes" complex chemical compounds.
Credit Courtesy: UC-Davis

BLIND SINCE BIRTH - Hoby Wedler has a Phd. in organic chemistry. He is a food and beverage sensory expert and has worked with Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Mondavi wines. He was selected by Forbes as a top innovator and entrepreneur. He'll be in Shreveport this weekend as part of the La. Assn for the Blind's "Dining in the Dark", an immersive experience where those dining will do so while blindfolded.  But  Hoby  won’t need a blindfold because he’s been has been blind since birth, he joins me now to share his story. "I was born completely blind.  As a blind person living in a sighted-world you can pick one of two 

Credit Courtesy: Coppola Winery

attitudes and my parents helped me pick the right attitude.  Either I'm going to work with this and figure out how to be the best possible  blind person I could be or you can sit around feeling sorry for yourself and really not do much of anything.  And for me the logical approach was to just get out there and do whatever I could to be successful and my parents were kind enough to give me that opportunity." Hoby's mother was a teacher when she discovered her son was born blind.  She immediately decided to get into special education.  But even though he was blind,  Hoby was never placed in any special school. "I was absolutely mainstreamed, so special education is  anything that helps students that learn a little bit 

Dining in the Dark-Participants wear blindfolds during a 5-course dinner, a local fundraiser for the Louisiana Association for the Blind in Shreveport.
Credit Courtesy: La. Association for the Blind-Shreveport

differently. That doesn't mean that I would have to be in a special classroom or anything like that. I was in the same classroom as everyone else of my age group. Kindergarten through twelfth grade all on my own and doing my own thing.  Took honors chemistry in high school and that's when I was really inspired to study chemstry after high school."  ​ After high school Hoby went to University of California at Davis and earned a doctorate in organic chemistry. UC-Davis is also renown for its vinticulture and food sciences programs as well as the more recent beer sciences program.  Although Hoby did take classes in wine and beermaking,  it was outside of UC-Davis where he got interested in sensory business. " It was actually a program I co-developed with Francis Ford Coppola in 2011 called 'Tasting in the Dark' where we actually lead people through a truly blind wine tasting experience which inspired me to get into the world of sensory and just fall in love with it and appreciate it."   Despite being blind, Hoby Wedler has accomplished much and he given his unique perspective he has 

Credit Courtesy: La. Association for the Blind-Shreveport

some advice for anyone dealing with a challenge such as blindness. "Anyone who is sight-impaired and struggling with it, learn how to do things successfully as a blind person. Get some good living-skills, learn how to walk around and travel safely.  Once we have these things, go out there in the world and do whatever it is you want to do that makes you feel good, that makes you tick. The best feeling  for me has been when I take full responsibility for anything I do and when I succeed I take all the credit for the success and when I fail, by gosh I take all the credit for the failure and all the blame for it.  And I honestly really enjoy having no one else to blame but me."   Hoby Wedler has been hosting blind wine and beer experiences  since 2011… he recently co-founded Senspoint, LLC --- a sensory advising and education company that partners with companies worldwide. You can learn more about Hoby's business at: and for more about Hoby Wedler go to: