Contestants flood water-tasting event

February 25, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Twelve media judges tasted water from around the world Saturday at the 17th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, held for the first time at The Country Inn.

Arthur von Wiesenberger, an author and water tasting expert from Santa Barbara, Calif., trained the judges on how to taste water.

He said water should not be tasteless, but "feels good in your mouth from the combination of minerals and trace elements, and one you would want to drink every day."

"It also should have an absence of odor and should be clear," von Wiesenberger said.

In the afternoon and evening, the judges sniffed, swirled and tasted water in four categories of municipal water, purified drinking water, bottled sparkling water and bottled still water.


Both the public and the media voted for the People's Choice award for the best packaging design.

Local resident Jacque Delbaugh, one of the water pourers for the media judges, said she wished more local people would stop by and check out the event.

"It's interesting, and waters are presented from all over the world," she said. "It's something our little town is noted for."

More than 100 entries worldwide participated in this year's event.

Aquadeco is a first-time entry for best packaging design. The bottled water comes from Aparan, Armenia, company Vice President Evan Cooper said, and the company has been working on the design for more than two years.

The 25-ounce glass bottle comes with its own blue velvet bag, or with a lighted display stand. It is very "high end," and can be used at wedding receptions or in restaurants, he said.

"It has a lot of versatility instead of just the look," Cooper said.

The winners will receive handcrafted fused-glass slump 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.

About 200 people attended the event, said Jill Klein Rone, who produced the event for Travel Berkeley Springs.

Von Wiesenberger said the U.S. Census Bureau announced in December that in 2006, Americans bought more bottled water than beer for the first time. He said $11 billion was spent on bottled water in the United States last year.

Gold winners make splash

The following are the 2007 gold-medal winners at the 17th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting held Saturday at The Country Inn.

· Municipal water - Montpelier, Ohio

· Purified drinking water - Coral Water, Rost Labs, Fla.

· Noncarbonated (still) bottled water (tie) - I Am Healthy, Mt. Palomar, Calif., and Muskoka Natural Spring Water, Gravenhurst, Ontario

· Carbonated (sparkling) water - Sparkling StoneClear Springs, Vanleer, Tenn.

· People's Choice packaging design - Aquadeco, Armenia

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