Residents of Montpelier are enjoying the best tasting municipal water in the world.
The city’s water was crowned world champion at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Feb. 25. The event, the world’s most prestigious, gave out awards to waters from three continents.
This is the fourth time the city’s water has been crowned as best in the world. The city won the title previously in 2003, 2006, and 2007. The Water Department is happy about the award.
“We have placed in the top 5 every year since our last championship,” Supervisor Matt Prater said. “We didn’t get in for a couple of years. It feels good to be finally back.”
Prate attributes the quality of the water to the aquifer the city taps into. The city also line softens about a third of the hardness out of the water before it goes to consumers.
The Montpelier Chamber of Commerce did bottle the water for a year after one of the world titles, but now the village wants to keep it to themselves, Prater said.
The municipal water category was a battle of champions. The top five water winners were all former gold medalists at Berkeley Springs.
Montpelier’s water came in first judged as the Best Municipal Water in the World, the event’s website stated.
All the municipal winners are American waters and most from middle America. Emporia, KS took second place while the Town of Hamilton, OH won the bronze. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California placed fourth and Independence, MO, fifth.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” remarked perennial watermaster, Arthur von Wiesenberger. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
Other categories judged were: Best Bottled Water; Sparkling waters and Purified waters.
The audience was filled with water enthusiasts coming from as far as New Zealand and Norway. Eleven media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from waters sourced in 19 states, five Canadian provinces and 12 foreign countries. “There were waters from two new countries this year: Costa Rica and Fiji. They joined waters from Italy, Bosnia, Greece and Australia” said Jeanne Mozier, an event founder.
“It was another wonderful year for the longest running and largest water tasting in the world,” said von Wiesenberger. “Berkeley Springs is the Academy Awards of water.”
The crowd was interested in the peoples’ choice packaging competition where it was their votes that chose which of the seven entrants was the most alluring. They voted the gold by an overwhelming margin to Svalbaroi Polar Iceberg Water from Longyearbyen, Norway. A pair of New Zealand waters won the silver and bronze — Waiheke Imperial was second and Antipodes, third.
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.
“I spent about six hours arranging all the waters in a display,” said Mozier. “The crowd spent less than ten minutes making it all disappear. It’s like a Tibetan sand mandala,” she laughed. “I was pleased to see our favorite couple from Brooklyn in the rush.”
The 11 media judges selected by Klein Rone included representatives from various regional and national media including television and online magazines. They were instructed 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). Waters were tasted in four separate flights over two days.
“The judges job is crucial and so is their training,” said Mozier. “We present all our judges with a diploma designating them as a Certified Water Taster.”
The 28th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. The event seminar on Friday and Saturday’s award ceremony were live streamed on the Berkeley Springs, WV Facebook page operated by the Morgan Arts Council’s Digital Media Center. For more information on Berkeley Springs or its water tasting, call 1-800-447-8797 or check the website.
Best Municipal Water 2017
1st – Village of Montpelier, OH
2nd – Emporia, KS
3rd – Town of Hamilton, OH
4th – Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
5th – Independence, MO
Best Bottled Water 2017
1st – Zaros Natural Water, Crete
1st — AlphaPure Springs Water, Ocala, FL
2nd — Artesia, Crystal Falls, MI
2nd – Canadian Gold Artesian Water, Marchand MB, Canada
3rd – Svalbaroi Polar Iceberg Water, Longyearbyen, Norway
4th – Planet H2O Natural Artesian Water, Knoxville, TN
5th — Whistler Water, Burnaby, BC, Canada
Best Sparkling – 2017
1st – Tesanjski Kiseljak, Tesanj, Bosnia
1st — Touch Sparkling Mineral Water, Marchand, MB, Canada
2nd. – Otakiri Reserve, Otakiri, Bay of Plenty, NZ
3rd – Aqua Nobel Carbonated Water, Morap, Sweden
4th – Oro Luxury Water, Vizianius, Macedonia
5th – Antipodes Sparkling Water, Whakatane, NZ
Best Purified Drinking Water – 2017
1st – GP8 Oxygen Water, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2nd – Berkeley Springs Purified Water, Berkeley Springs, WV
3rd –Thermox Thirst Oxygen Water, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4th – Thermox Thirst Alkaline Water, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
5th – Rain Fresh Bottled Water, Garland, TX
Best Packaging — 2017
1st – Svalbaroi Polar Iceberg Water, Longyearbyen, Norway
2nd – Waiheke Imperial, Waiheke Island, NZ
3rd – Antipodes, Whakatane, NZ
James Pruitt may be reached at email@example.com