A Santa Barbara bottled water and water system company OPHORA Water won gold in the “Best Purified Drinking Water” category at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting on Friday. OPHORA won the same title in 2018.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” seasoned water critic and News-Press co-publisher Arthur von Wiesenberger said. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
Berkeley Springs claims to be the “world’s most prestigious” water tasting event and is lauded as the “world’s largest” by news articles and industry professionals.
The competition is held in West Virginia and pulls entries from all over the world. Nine judges tasted water from five continents, 14 countries and 19 states.
“Our total of countries over the life of the event is 57 including waters from Tasmania, Turkey, Bosnia, Greece and Australia,” Jill Klein Rone, event producer, said in a news release.
This year’s competition was the 31st and had to be rescheduled for COVID-19 precautions.
The judging looks like a wine tasting. The judges, who were selected from various media organizations, are trained by Mr. von Wiesenberger and awarded a diploma, certifying their tasting abilities.
Judges look at the water’s appearance, favoring clear water or slightly opaque glacial waters. They even smell the water, hoping for a scent-free drink.
They look for a clean taste and a light feel with an aftertaste that begs for another sip.
Winners boast their medal on their website and even redesign the labels on their bottled water to show off the acclaim.
“It was another wonderful year for the longest running and largest water tasting in the world,” said Mr. von Wiesenberger. “Berkeley Springs is truly the Olympics of water.”
The 32nd Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting will be held Feb. 26, 2022.