Water Tasting makes big splash in Bath
Greenwood, British Columbia won the coveted best tasting tap water in the world at the 22nd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting. Winning best in the USA was St. Henry, Ohio.
The remaining places were claimed by American waters. Second place was Santa Ana, Calif. Three midwestern waters: Independence, Mo., Oxford, Mich. and Lansing, Mich. claimed third, fourth and fifth places respectively.
The water tasting’s first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to marketing guru and water executive James M. Stevens, widely credited with “inventing” the bottled water segment of the U.S. beverage industry when he introduced Perrier to America in the 1970s. Stevens told the story of his efforts during the event’s seminar on Friday.
Bottled water came from all over the globe to compete, including Argentina, Japan, Bosnia and Belgium but Bulgarians, Koreans and Chinese accompanied their water entries to the event.
Once again a Canadian water won best bottled still water in the world, first-time entrant, Jackson Springs, Manitoba. Second place was Virginia’s Best, Edinburg, Va. while third was captured by hometown Berkeley Springs water bottled as Almost Heaven from Manassas, Va.
Pristine Springs from nearby Clear Spring, Md. placed fourth and there was a tie for fifth: Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water, Escondido, Calif. and Agana, Buda, Texas. A total of 30 bottled waters were tasted.
Ling Han, in attendance from Guangzhou, China accepted the first-ever Watermaster’s Golden Award of Excellence for Kunlun Mountains Natural Mineral Water. According to longtime watermaster, Arthur von Wiesenberger, Kunlun won because of their uncompromising and passionate devotion to the quality of their bottled water products especially in the area of purity.
More than 150 people watched at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs on Saturday night as 11 media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from among 77 waters sourced in 20 states and nine foreign countries. There were 32 municipal waters from a dozen states, Canada and South Korea. "We have seven former gold medalists entered this year,” said Jill Klein Rone, “more than ever before.”
For the second year in a row, the Bosnian water Esparanza won the title of best sparkling water in the world. Second was Antipodes from Whakatane, New Zealand.
Entered for the first time in two decades, Perrier Springs from Vergeze, France took the bronze. First time entrant, Source Saint-Elie from Quebec placed fourth and Mountain Valley from Hot Springs, Ariz. placed fifth.
We were happy to welcome newcomer American Summit from Wyoming and their representatives,” said Klein Rone.
The purified category was won by two-time gold medal winner, Claire Baie of Oak Creek, Wis. “They won the first year we had this category in 2001 and again in 2006,” reported Klein Rone.
"It was another wonderful year for the longest running and largest water tasting in the world," said von Wiesenberger. "Berkeley Springs is the granddaddy of them all."
The crowd was interested in the peoples' choice packaging competition where it was their votes that chose which of the 10 entrants was the most alluring. MyCause Water, Mechanicsville, Md. won first place.
The sleek glass bottle of American Summit, Clark, Wyo. took the silver. HumanKind Water of Laurel Run, Penn. was third, Source Saint-Elie of Quebec took fourth and Hawaii at Iolani Palace, Big Island, Hawaii, fifth.
Conclusion of the daylong water tasting is the famed "water rush" where the audience is invited to take home hundreds of bottles of water sent as part of the judging.
"I spent about six hours arranging all the waters in a display," said Jeanne Mozier, an event founder. "The crowd spent less than 10 minutes making it all disappear. It's like a Tibetan sand mandala," she laughed. “I was pleased to see our favorite couple from Brooklyn in the rush. Peter and Cynthia Lloyd come every year especially for the water tasting – and the rush.”
The 11 media judges selected by Klein Rone included representatives from three major television networks and WV Public Radio as well as print outlets. They were instructed by von Wiesenberger to look, sniff and taste each water under guidelines similar to those in a wine tasting. The waters were rated for each attribute including appearance (it should be clear - or slightly opaque for glacial waters), aroma (there should be none), taste (it should taste clean), mouth feel (it should feel light), aftertaste (it should leave you thirsty for more). Waters were tasted in four separate flights over two days.
The 23rd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, 2013. For more information on Berkeley Springs or its water tasting, call 1-800-447-8797.
Best Municipal Water: Best in the World - Greenwood, BC, Canada; Best in the USA - St. Henry, Ohio; Second place - Santa Ana, Calif.; Third - Independence, MO; Fourth - Oxford, Mich.; Fifth-Lansing, Mich.
Best Bottled Water: First - Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring Water, MB, Canada; Second - Virginia’s Best Natural Artesian Water, Edinburg, Va.; Third - Almost Heaven, Manassas, Va. bottling Berkeley Springs water; fourth - Pristine Springs, Clear Spring, Md.; Fifth - Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water, Escondido, Calif.; fifth - Agana, Buda, Texas.
Best Sparkling: First - Esparanza, Tesanj, Bosnia; Second - Antipodes, Whakatane, New Zealand; Third - Perrier Springs, Vergeze, France; Fourth - Source Saint-Elie, Saint-Elie-de-Caxton, PQ, Canada; Fifth - Mountain Valley Springs Water, Hot Springs, Arizona.
Best Packaging: First - MyCause Water, Mechanicsville, Md.; Second - American Summit, Clark, WY; Third - HumanKind Water, Laurel Run, Penn.; Fourth - Source Saint-Elie, Saint-Elie-de-Caxton, PQ, Canada; Fifth - Hawaii at Iolani Palace, Big Island, Hawaii.
Best Purified Drinking Water: First - Claire Baie, Oak Creek, WI (gold in 2001 and 2006); Second - Nestle Pure Life, Allentown, Penn.; Third - Rain Fresh Oxygen-Rich Purified Water, Garland, Texas; Fourth - Berkeley Springs Purified Water, Berkeley Springs, WV; Fifth - Hamilton On Tap, Hamilton, Ohio.