There was a clear winner. But the loser was also clear. In fact, all of the entries in the contest were clear because it was the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting event.
Every year since 1991, a convention has been held in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia to determine where the best tasting waters in the world come from. Enthusiasts gather to witness and participate in what’s been called “the Academy Awards of Water.”
Entries came from far and wide. This year, there were 112 different waters entered from five different continents. Waters from three continents walked away with prestigious awards.
For this year’s 29th awards event, 10 Certified Water Tasting judges were first trained on proper technique and standards. They were then instructed that the best quality waters should be “clear or slightly opaque,” odorless, with a light, clean taste, and “should leave you thirsty for more.” Waters were tasted in four separate flights over two days.
Judges sniffed, swirled, and tasted their way through the waters, checking for appearance, aroma, taste, mouth feel, and aftertaste. Winners hailed from across the globe, including Turkey, Bosnia, Norway, Greeze, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Genada, New Zealand, the United States, and Italy.
And the winners?
Best Tap Water – Clearbrook, British Columbia
Best Water in the U.S. – Eldorado Springs, Colorado*
Best Bottled Water – Smeraldina Natural Artesian Water from Sardinia, Italy
Best Purified Water – Berkeley Springs (the first time the event’s namesake town took home a gold medal.)
Best Sparkling Water – Mountain Valley Spring Sparkling Water, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Best Flavored Essence Sparkling Water – Mountain Valley Blackberry Pomegranate Sparkling Water, Hot Springs, Arkansas
People’s Choice (Best Packaging) – Svalbaroi Polar Iceberg Water, Longyearbyen, Norway
Many waters have received acclaim several years in a row.
“The consistency in winner from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” said watermaster, Arthur von Wiesenberger. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
The 30th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 2020. For more information on the event, or for a complete list of winners, check the website.
*Note: Only waters from 14 states were entered in the competition.