Judges for the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting awarded top honors to waters from around the world on Saturday, February 25 during an award ceremony at The Country Inn. The ceremony closed the 33rd annual festival, which was a two-day event in Berkeley Springs.
Five continents had waters among the nearly 100 entered.
The municipal water category saw three former gold medalists in the top five.
Gold went to Clearbrook, BC, Canada. Silver medal was won by first time entry North Muskoka, ON, Canada. Bronze medal was won by St. Paris, Ohio, making them the best in the United States. There was a tie for fourth place, between former gold medalist Emporia, Kansas and first time entry K-Water (Miryang-si), Republic of Korea. In fifth place, just one single point behind, was former gold medalist Eldorado Springs, Colorado.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” remarked esteemed watermaster, Arthur von Wiesenberger. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
Smeraldina Natural Artesian Water, Monti di Deu, Sardina, Italy was the Gold Medal winner in the Non-Carbonated Water category. Hope Natural Spring Water, Halifax County, Va. took home Silver this year. Bronze Medal went to Jano, Village-Blanchard, NB, Canada. Fourth was Floridian Spring Water, Ocala, Florida, who were present to accept the award, and fifth went to last year’s Silver Medalist, Vortex Energy, Meriden, Conn.
Nine media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from waters entered from 18 states, three Canadian provinces and 14 foreign countries.
The Sparkling Water winners came from three continents. The Gold Medal went to Dijamant Carbonated Mineral Water, Tešanj, Bosnia & Herzegowina. Silver went to multi-medalist, Antipodes Water, Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand. Bronze was a new entry, Cedea Sparkling Mineral Water, Dolomites, Italy. Boston Clear Sparkling Water, Lynnfield, Mass. placed fourth, and multi-medalist Theoni Natural Mineral Water, Karditsa, Greece came in fifth.
It was a Taiwanese sweep at the top of the Purified Water category. All first-time entries, Taifer Group 100% Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan and Taiwan Yes Alkaline Minerals Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan tied for the Gold Medal, with Atomy 100% Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan taking Silver. Bronze went to Vibrant WTR®, Hamilton, Ohio. Fourth place went to Mountain Springs, St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies and fifth to former Gold Medalist Lesage Natural Water, Lesage, W.Va.
von Wiesenberger praised the selection of the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robert A. Smith, owner and CEO of Grand Springs Water and welcomed participation of the award sponsorship by Tesanjski kiseljak and company Zema d.o.o from Tesanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Online voting for the People’s Choice package design was initiated in 2021. The packaging category had 9 entrants competing for most alluring. The clear rounded bottle from Antipodes, Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand earned the Gold Medal for best package design. Amamizu Water, Fukui City, Japan won the silver medal, and the bronze went to Clearly Canadian, Marchand, Manitoba, Canada.
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. While it takes hours to arrange the bottles, the crowd spent less than ten minutes making it all disappear.
The nine media judges selected by Klein Rone included representatives from ABC7-TV, Washington, DC and Insider’s Guide to Spas, as well as various regional and national media including newspapers, websites, and online and print magazines.
They were trained 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).
BlackCat Village Band provided music for Saturday’s festival. All day long people snapped photos with the big blue water drop, part of K (Korea) Water’s exhibit. Many engaged with Project WET’s educational activities.
The event was produced by Travel Berkeley Springs. The 34th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, 2024.