FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- FEBRUARY 21, 2015
Travel Berkeley Springs - Berkeley Springs, WV
Press contact only:  Jill Klein Rone  -- 304-258-3302
 PHOTOS AVAILABLE -- Contact Jeanne Mozier -- star@starwv.com

OSCARS SCOOPED AT ACADEMY AWARDS OF WATER IN BERKELEY SPRINGS
 BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV -----  Indigo H2O is having a good weekend.  Their cobalt blue bottle is included in the Oscar swag bag and on Saturday, February 21, they won the gold for best purified water in the world at the 25th anniversary Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.  “We’ve been calling Berkeley Springs the Academy Awards of water for years,” said Arthur von Wiesenberger, perennial watermaster of the event.  “This year it came true.”

In the municipal competition, it was a battle of titans.  Ranked as the top four best tap waters in the world were previous gold medalists.  Hamilton, OH won first adding another gold to their back-to-back golds in 2009 and 10.  Emporia, KS won the silver, Clearbrook from British Columbia, Canada won the bronze and Montpelier, OH tied for fourth.  Two other waters also tied for fourth: Dickinson, ND and Eldorado Springs, CO.  Independence, MO placed fifth.

The importance of a commitment to excellence in providing drinking water was underlined by the selection of Jack C. West, chairman of the Drinking Water Foundation as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement award. In his decades of work in the bottled water industry, West has been involved in international water standards.  The event also presented a special award to Scott Shipe for 25 years of support of the water tasting.

“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.” 

Fengari Platinum, a first-time entrant from Athens, Greece, won over 39 other entries for the title of world’s best bottled water. Last year’s gold medalist, Castle Rock Water of Dunsmuir, CA dropped to silver and previous winners: Halstead Springs Water, Speedwell, TN and Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring Water of Middlebor, MB, Canada placed third and fourth respectively.  Placing fifth was another first time entrant, Capi, Victoria, Australia. 

In spite of snow, the audience was filled with water enthusiasts coming from as far as Canada and California. Ten media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from among nearly 100 waters sourced in 19 states, six Canadian provinces and 6 foreign countries. “We added water from Wales this year, and had three waters from Greece,” said Jeanne Mozier, an event founder. 

Sparkling waters are sourced from three countries and the United States.  The best sparkling water in the world is Daphne-Ultra Premium Quality Natural Mineral Sparkling from Athens, Greece. Oaza from Tesanj, Bosnia won the silver after several years of winning gold.  Two New Zealand waters from Whatakane won third and fourth place: Antipodes and Otakiri respectively.   The only American water to place in the sparkling category is Castle Rock from Dunsmuir, CA.

In addition to Indigo H2O, there are two West Virginia waters: 4th is Le Sage Natural, Le Sage and 5th place Mountain Drop bottling famous Berkeley Springs water.  Second place is a tie with Bar H2O, Richmond, MI and January Springs, North Haltey QC, Canada.  Third place is Whispering Springs. Pierceton, IN.

"It was another wonderful year for the longest running and largest water tasting in the world," said von Wiesenberger. "Berkeley Springs is the granddaddy of them all."  

The crowd was interested in the peoples' choice packaging competition where it was their votes that chose which of the 13 entrants was the most alluring.   Eternal Naturally Alkaline Spring Water of Dandridge, TN won the gold handily for their book-end appearing aqua bottles. Nakd Luxury Artesian Water, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand won silver with many voters commenting with appoval of their Braille name.  Third place was Waiwera Artesian Water of Auckland, New Zealand which came in an etched wooden box. Arisu, Seoul, Republic of Korea won fourth with their bottle that had their name in Korean on one side and English on the other.  Voted fifth was the appealingly rounded Antipodes Water, Whakatane, New Zealand. 

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 Jeanne Mozier, an event founder.  "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.  Peter and Cynthia Lloyd come every year especially for the water tasting – and the rush.”  

The ten media judges selected by Klein Rone included representatives from various regional and national media including television and online magazines plus Mr. Waterman, the event’s first superhero.  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 26th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 27, 2016.  Watch videos of the event and special interviews on watercitizen.com.   For more information on Berkeley Springs or its water tasting, call 1-800-447-8797 or check online at  www.berkeleysprings.com.

Best Municipal Water 2015
1st – Hamilton, OH
2nd – Emporia, KS
3rd – Clearbrook, Abbotsford BC, Canada
4th – (three way tie)
Montpelier, OH
Dickinson, ND
Eldorado, CO
5th – Independence, MO

Best Bottled Water  2015
1st – Fengari Platinum, Platinum Class Mineral Water, Athens, Greece
2nd – Castle Rock Water, Dunsmuir, CA
3rd – Halstead Springs Water, Speedwell, TN
4th –  Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring Water, Middlebor, MB, Canada
5th – Capi, Victoria, Australia

Best Sparkling – 2015
1st – Daphne-Ultra Premium Quality Natural Mineral Sparkling, Athens, Greece
2nd. Oaza, Tesanj, Bosnia  
3rd – Antipodes, Whakatane, New Zealand     (prev gold)
4th – Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand
5th – Castle Rock Carbonated Water, Dunsmuir, CA

Best Purified Drinking Water – 2015
1st – Indigo H2O, Elkhart, IN
2nd – Tied:
Bar H2O, Richmond, MI
January Springs, North Haltey QC, Canada.
3rd – Whispering Springs. Pierceton, IN
4th – Le Sage Natural, Le Sage, WV
5th – Mountain Drop, Linthicum, MD bottling famous Berkeley Springs water.  

Best Packaging -- 2015
1st – Eternal Naturally Alkaline Spring Water, Dandridge, TN
2nd – Nakd Luxury Artesian Water, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
3rd –  Waiwera Artesian Water, Auckland, New Zealand
4th –  Arisu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
5th –  Antipodes Water, Whakatane, New Zealand