BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — More than 110 waters from as close as Berkeley Springs to as far as South Korea were judged Saturday at the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.
Sponsored by Travel Berkeley Springs and held at The Country Inn, the event showcased waters from all over the world that competed in the categories of municipal, bottled noncarbonated, sparkling and purified waters, and packaging design.
The winners receive hand-crafted, fused-glass slump bowls made by Amingo Glass of Hedgesville, W.Va.
Twelve judges were trained by Water Master Michael Cervin to evaluate the water by its clarity, smell and taste.
Cervin is an associate of Water Master Arthur von Wiesenberger, who was out of the country and could not attend this year.
Cervin said he tells people to enjoy a variety of water and to taste the diversity.
“That’s what’s great about this competition,” he said.
But another aspect is learning to respect the water source, he said.
“That will give us an understanding of how to protect it,” Cervin said.
Cervin is the senior editor of Bottled Water Web and also served twice as a judge at previous water tastings in Berkeley Springs.
Jill Klein Rone, the event producer, said the competition was exciting this year with new entrants, especially municipal water from South Korea.
K-Water is from Mi-ryang Lake, South Korea, and it was bottled especially for the water-tasting event, she said.
“I am proud of my water. I want to show its quality to everyone,” said Hyuk-Jin Cho, the plant manager for K-Water.
Cho said he would attend the water tasting event every year “until I win the gold,” he said.
Jeanne Mozier, one of the event founders, said the water tasting has grown and the packaging design is more sophisticated.
“The word is getting out there about the importance of water,” she said.
Mozier said she was amazed by the economic implications of the water-tasting event with business and government “moving in the same direction,” she said.
“Municipal and bottled-water companies are all working together to make good water available,” Mozier said.
“I am happy to recognize excellence in both municipal and bottled water, and I will say again we must protect our water — our most precious resource,” Klein Rone said.
Brent Wolgemuth of Mechanicsburg, Pa., attends the water tasting every year and collects bottled water.
He has about 300 glass and plastic bottles of spring water that he keeps in his “water closet,” he said.
Wolgemuth got interested in collecting water in 2003, when he found a bottled water in Tennessee called Laure, he said.
He said he hoped to get a couple of interesting glass spring water bottles to add to his collection at the end of the event, when water is given away.
Winners at the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting: