TRAVEL TOOLS, GREAT GADGETS & COOL STUFF TO DO
for Bad Water
The handcrafted glass bowls may not be as
recognizable a prize as the Oscar, but to the
entrants in the Berkeley Springs International
Water Tasting—known as the Academy Awards
of water—they are just as coveted. Celebrating
its 20th anniversary this year, the largest and
longest-running water competition in the world
will be Feb. 25–28 at the Country Inn in Berkeley
Springs, W. Va.—about 100 miles from Baltimore
and Washington, D.C.
All events are free and open to the public.
Preliminary judging takes place on Thursday.
A Friday seminar, “Water: Our Legacy,” begins
at 1 p.m. and addresses some of the issues
surrounding the world’s water crisis, but the main
event is the judging on Saturday.
Competitors come from across the United
States and Canada, as well as Bosnia, Ecuador,
Israel, Japan, Macedonia and New Zealand.
Arthur von Wiesenberger, watermaster and
founder of bottledwaterweb.com, trains a panel
of media judges on how to assess color (clear),
aroma (none) and taste (clean). Awards are
given in four categories: city water straight from
the tap, purified water (city water that has been
processed and bottled), carbonated water and
noncarbonated bottled water. In all, the judges
sip and swirl more than 65 di;erent waters.
The People’s Choice Award, given for the best
packaging, is decided by the public.
Free samples are stacked on tables, so
attendees can do their own water tasting. The
winners are announced at an evening ceremony,
and then the real fun begins: the famed “water
rush.” At the word “go,” visitors and judges alike
make a mad dash to collect as many of the sample
bottles as they can. If you have your eye on a
particular brand, you’d better move fast.
“In less than two minutes, all those bottles are
gone,” says Jill Klein Rone, the event’s producer.