Hoby Wedler, blind since birth, leads the popular “Tasting in the Dark” at Geyserville’s Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and he has plenty of tips for the sighted.

The first tip?  Wedler tells his blindfolded group of tasters to become fully aware of the “distraction” of sight. He encourages them to rely on their other senses while tasting.

What follows is Wedler’s five-point strategy for getting the most out of wine.

1)                Swirl the glass.

2)                Smell the glass.

3)                Taste the wine, by swirling it in the mouth like a mouthwash.

4)                With lips sealed, chew the wine, and then spit.

5)                Wedler said as tasters describe the wine, they should make note of this trio – the front palate, the mid-palate and the “point of no return.”

Above all, Wedler said, key into the magic of the grape. As he put it: “The grape is so simple and humble, and yet it can be turned into something so brilliantly complex. During fermentation, pockets of flavor in the grape are released. It’s that magic that lets wine riff to us when it’s in the glass and tell us what it wants and is.”