The International Water Tasting Championships

The ‘Wild and Wonderful’ West Virginia coaxed us with a number of interesting events, namely the annual International Water Tasting Competition in Berkeley Springs. The competition, now in its 19th year, is no gimmick. This is a serious and accredited competition that attracts water submissions from all over the world.

We were greeted by gracious hosts and organizers of the event, namely Jill Klein Rone and Jeanne Mozier, who were busy unpacking boxes from last-minute submissions from Romania and Japan.  Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the main event on Saturday due to another festival, so our experience of the water tasting competition was short lived. However, we photographed an afternoon of the preliminary water tasting which was quite entertaining.

Andrew and I were also thoroughly educated by the country’s leading water consultant, Mr. Arthur von Wiesenberger.  He flies out from Santa Barbara, Ca., every year to serve as Water Master and educate the local ‘celebrity’ judges on the basics of water tasting. Like wine tasting, there are certain things to note in water, but it can be more difficult to judge due to the lack of ingredients (ie. minerals).

The greatest difference between the water tasting event and a wine tasting event is that instead of cleansing your palette with water, the judges would cleanse their palette with a cracker.  Like many of the events we documented with the AFP, we learned that every subculture has a way of doing things precisely.