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Calif. captures top three spots in water tasting

February 27, 2000|By BRUCE HAMILTON

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - When it comes to good tap water, California earned some bragging rights Saturday by taking three of the top five spots at the 10th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.

Yucca Valley, Calif., is this year's town with the top tap water, and mammoth Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city, finished second with an entry from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Third place went to Pico Rivera, Calif.

Thirteen judges ogled, poured, sniffed and sampled municipal water from all over the country before picking the top five. Perhaps appropriately, this year's "water master" was Arthur von Wiesenberger, a water expert from Santa Barbara, Calif.

Gatlinburg, Tenn., was the top finisher outside California, taking fourth place. And the fifth-place award in the category was taken by Sandusky, Ohio.

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Hagerstown had two entries but brought home no honors, nor did the other regional contenders: Berkeley Springs; Fairfax County, Va.; Hancock, Md.; Mount Airy, Md.; Washington, D.C.; Westminster, Md.; and Laurel, Md.

The two-day tasting and competition featured seminars with speakers such as Food and Drug Administration Food Technologist Shellee Anderson, who discussed bottled water rules and regulations.

The competition included four categories: municipal, sparkling, bottled noncarbonated and people's choice packaging design.

The top bottled noncarbonated water winners were Halstead Spring Water of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., and Kentwood Artesian Spring Water of Atlanta.

Le-Nature's Water of Latrobe, Pa., and McKenzie Mist of Blue River, Ore., tied for third.

Mountain Valley Spring Water Co. of Hot Springs, Ark., took fourth. Cherokee Bottled Water of Cherokee, N.C., and Cool Springs Pure Spring Water of Parkersburg, W.Va., tied for fifth.

In the sparking category, Calistoga Sparkling Mineral Water of Napa Valley, Calif., took first. Tied for second place were Oaza Tesanj (the blue bottle) of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Mountain Valley Sparkling Spring Water of Hot Springs, Ark.

Oaza Tesanj (the green bottle) took third and Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water of Perrier, France, won fifth.

Oaza Tesanj also took top prize in the people's choice packaging design award. Second place went to Airwater by Talking Rain Beverage Co. of Preston, W.Va. Mission Springs Water Department of Desert Hot Springs, Calif., took third.

Le-Nature's Water of Latrobe took fourth and Whispering Springs Natural Spring Water of Pierceton, Tenn., came in fifth.

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