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Water on tap at tasting contest

February 26, 2006|By TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -

Eleven media judges sniffed and tasted water from around the world Saturday at the 16th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting at Coolfont Resort.

Water Master Arthur von Wiesenberger, author and water tasting expert from Santa Barbara, Calif., who trained the judges, said they were tasting the "best of the best waters," and that "water tasting is not unlike tasting wine, but it is a lot more subtle."

More than 100 entries were judged in four categories of municipal, purified, bottled noncarbonated and sparkling. Judges and the public voted for the People's Choice award for the best packaging design.

The winners received special glass bowls created by Amingo Glass of Hedgesville, W.Va. The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting logo and the winner's name and category will be engraved on the glass.

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Jill Klein Rone, the event's festival producer for Travel Berkeley Springs, said the point of the International Water Tasting was "to bring people to Berkeley Springs and to fill every bed." Berkeley Springs has grown and the event has grown, she said.

"It could not be flowing better," she said.

One of the more extravagant packaging designs was by Bling H20 from Beverly Hills, Calif., complete with rhinestones on the glass bottle that retails for about $38, Klein Rone said.

It contains English Mountain Spring Water from Dandridge, Tenn., the 1999 winner of the noncarbonated bottled water category. "Recycling is sexy" is printed on the back of the bottle.

Bling H20 also is available in plastic bottles and was part of the free bottled water that was given away after the event.

Von Wiesenberger said more than $9 billion was spent on bottled water last year in the United States, and more than $100 billion was spent worldwide.

More than 200 people attended the event. Rhonda Freed and Trent Millet came all the way from Vermont.

Millet said he conducts workshops and lectures on water. He said he wants to bring people to the Berkeley Springs water and help people to recognize "ideal waters as healing properties."

"We are 86 percent water, and it is most important to our health," he said.

Mike and Phil Roser, twin brothers from York, Pa., represent EcoQuest, a Tennessee manufacturer of water and air purifying equipment.

Mike Roser said Laundry Pure, a new clothes washing purification system, will be introduced in March. The machine hooks into the washing machine and no chemicals are needed to clean clothes, including soap. The cost is about $750, he said.

Phil Roser said "the wastewater used in the washing machine is so pure you could drink it."

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