A Truly Blind Prosecco Tasting Event

Who knew that prosecco had a sound? Dr. Hoby Wedler, a chemist, entrepreneur and sensory expert, who opens the doors to the world of wine aromas and sensations with blindfolded wine tasting experiences. Wedler helped celebrate National Prosecco Week on June 28 at The Leopard Des Artistes in New York with Tasting in the Dark, a cross-sensory tasting event.

Dr. Wedler, who has been completely blind since birth, earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Davis in 2016. He leveraged his highly trained palate and acute sensory insight of his surroundings to create customized tasting experiences such as Tasting in the Dark, developed in 2011 in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola.

Participants in the prosecco tasting wore blindfolds and used a custom multi-sensory kit from innovation design studio Emotitech, which allowed them to integrate tactile and olfactory elements. For example, smelling a small tin containing a river rock dampened with purified water helped defined some of the mineral, stony qualities of the wine, while a tin with pieces of green apple and raspberries demonstrated the fruity aromas.

In one exercise, Dr. Wedler instructed attendees to plug one ear, then take a sip of prosecco and swallow, noting the sounds and feel of the bubbles in the throat. Repeating the process with plain water heightened the difference in sensations, particularly without any visual cues. The experience provided a unique and deeper perspective on the distinctive qualities of the Prosecco DOC.

pouring a still Prosecco wine from Voga
The final wine was a Prosecco DOC still wine from Voga.

The proseccos featured in the blind tasting included Zardetto Prosecco DOC Brut; Mionetto Prosecco DOC Brut; La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC Brut; Brilla Prosecco DOC Extra Dry Rosé 2023; Avissi Prosecco DOC Extra Dry; and Fantinel Prosecco DOC Extra Dry. Dr. Wedler threw participants a curveball with a Prosecco DOC still wine from Voga as the last wine in the tasting. The production of still Prosecco involves fermenting the wine in tanks, similar to the Charmat method, but without the second fermentation that creates the bubbles, resulting in a wine that presents the floral and fruity characteristics of the glera grape.

National Prosecco Week, which in 2024 took place from June 24-30, is supported by the Prosecco DOC Consortium. The campaign now reaches more than 1,000 ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores across 30 states and includes a full digital media and marketing program, strategic media partnerships and influencer activations.


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