The AFP has turned their compass due South, hitting the pavement through blinding blizzards and the windy mountain roads of West Virginia. We filled up on a healthy dose of vegetable oil from Dartmouth College’s cafeteria that feeds the minds and bellies of America’s finest Ivy Leaugers. 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 (which we will soon post), 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, California 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). You can learn more about Arthur von Wiesenberger and water tasting in our short video.
Amazingly, we left the competition without ever trying any water ourselves. Instead, we had to continue down the snowy roads of West Virginia and meet our friend Willie Lehman who runs the Mountain State Brewery. We soon forgot about the world of water as our host showered us in delicious, free beer.