BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The Country Inn in Berkeley Springs was flush with excitement as the 33rd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting. Your Panhandle Live hosts were among the nine-panel judge.
It’s touted as the world’s most prestigious, giving out awards Saturday to waters from four continents. Five continents had waters among the nearly 100 entered.
A press release from organizer Jill Klein Rone says the following:
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, OH, making them the best in the United States. There was a tie for fourth place, between former gold medalist Emporia, KS and first time entry Miryang-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea. In fifth place, just one single point behind, was former gold medalist Eldorado Springs, CO.
“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. They’ve previously won Bronze, Silver and Gold. Adding to their former Bronze Medal, 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, FL, who were present to accept the award, and fifth went to last year’s Silver Medalist, Vortex Energy, Meriden, CT.
The event proves valuable for bottled waters both carbonated and still. Waters use a win in Berkeley Springs for bragging rights and often redesign their labels to include the gold, silver or bronze medal. Over a dozen entrants
in the 2023 contest sported a medal decorated label.
Nine media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from waters sourced in eighteen states, three Canadian provinces and fourteen foreign countries. “There were municipal entries from Canada, Australia and the Republic of Korea this year, with representatives – and even a costumed water drop – from K (Korea) Water in attendance. The total of countries over the life of the event is 59, including waters from Tasmania, Turkey, Bosnia, Greece and New Zealand,” said Jill Klein Rone, event producer.
The Sparkling Water winners came from 3 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. 2022 Gold Medalist, Boston Clear Sparkling Water, Lynnfield, MA 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, OH. Fourth place went to Mountain Springs, St Kitts and Nevis, West Indies and fifth to former Gold Medalist Lesage Natural Water, Lesage, WV.
“It was another wonderful year for the largest and longest running water tasting in the world,” said von Wiesenberger. “Berkeley Springs is the Academy Awards of water.” He also 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. “We were pleased to see our favorite couple from Brooklyn in the rush. Peter and Cynthia Lloyd come every year especially for the water tasting – and the rush,” said Klein Rone.
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).
The judges’ job is crucial and so is their training. All judges are presented with a diploma designating them as a Certified Water Taster.
The event was produced by Travel Berkeley Springs and held at The Country Inn. The 34th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, 2024. The event seminar on Friday and Saturday’s award ceremony were live streamed and are available for future viewing on the BerkeleySpringsWV Facebook page. For more information on Berkeley Springs or its water tasting, call 304-258-9147 or check the website.
Best Municipal Water 2023
1st – Clearbrook, BC, Canada
2nd – North Muskoka, ON, Canada
3rd – St Paris, OH, USA
Tie 4th – Miryang-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea
Tie 4th – Emporia, KS
5th – Eldorado Springs, CO
Best Non-carbonated Water 2023
1st – Smeraldina Natural Artesian Water, Monti di Deu, Sardina, Italy
2nd – Hope Natural Spring Water, Halifax County, VA
3rd – Jano, Village-Blanchard, NB, Canada
4th – Floridian Spring Water, Ocala, FL
5th – Vortex Energy, Meriden, CT
Best Sparkling Water – 2023
1st – Dijamant Carbonated Mineral Water, Tešanj, Bosnia & Herzegowina
2nd – Antipodes Water, Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand
3rd – Cedea Sparkling Mineral Water, Dolomites, Italy
4th – Boston Clear Water, Lynnfield, MA
5th – Theoni Natural Mineral Water, Karditsa, Greece
Best Purified Drinking Water – 2023
Tie 1st – Taifer Group 100% Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan
Tie 1st – Taiwan Yes Alkaline Minerals Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan
2nd – Atomy 100% Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan
3rd – VIBRANT WTR®, Hamilton, OH
4th – Mountain Springs, St Kitts and Nevis, West Indies
5th – Lesage Natural, Lesage, WV
People’s Choice Package Design – 2023
1st – Antipodes Water, Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand
2nd – Amamizu Water, Fukui City, Japan
3rd – Clearly Canadian, Marchand, Manitoba, Canada