We have all heard the term Sommelier -
A sommelier is a professional who specialises in the study and service of wine. The word "sommelier" originates from the French term "sommelier d'hotel," which refers to the person in charge of the wine cellar in a hotel or restaurant. A sommelier is an expert in all aspects of wine, including its production, history, geography, and varietals, as well as wine service, storage, and food pairings.
I have never been a wine snob, if asked to taste a glass of wine at a restaurant, I don't have a clue, remember we Boomers started our wine drinking days during the dark Sixties when good wines were just not coming into the country and we experimented with the good old locally gown favourites Green Valley and Gerac Stein!!
As teenagers in Zimbabwe we did not belong to a wine drinking culture. A teensy bottle of Babycham at a wedding was as daring as we got!! Latterly HeeHoo has introduced me to the art of fine wine drinking but my humble taste buds seem to always turn to New Zealand's finest!!
From Wine Sommeliers however, society has 'progressed' so much that we now also have Water Sommeliers!
Apparently in Berlin they have entire stores dedicated to different types of sparkling and still water-rows and rows of different brands, all offering specific levels of carbonation or mineral content.
The water sommelier movement-yes, that's the term-has been growing in the US and around the world for years now. In fact, some argue that the seltzer boom has opened a door for a mineral water renaissance. These water sommeliers taste bottled waters as if they're fine wines, expounding upon the waters 'terroir' and 'virginality,' or a water's level of protection from its surroundings. They help to design bespoke water menus for restaurants; they judge contests in which bottled waters compete on taste, texture, and mouthfeel; and they collect bottles of tasteless water from icebergs that cost as much as $300 a bottle.
It seems such a tragedy to have to buy water when it should come pure and fresh from the tap, as it has for centuries. But the fine water industry is an industry that spans the globe. Sparkling, seltzer, and mineral water sales reached $3.5 billion in sales between 2019 and 2020 in the US alone.
I remain skeptical.
Water, to me, tastes like water. The only texture I can describe it having is 'wet.' How could someone justify spending hundreds of dollars on bottled water when entire communities, nay entire countries, are affected by contaminated water supplies What could compel someone to spend weeks at the Doemens Academy in suburban Germany sipping on different waters What does it mean to elevate something like water, a fundamental human need and a growing scarcity in some places, to this level of luxury
Now as far as I am concerned we the Citizens of Bulawayo could indeed put ourselves forward as Water Aficionados! We can tell you immediately about water quality, its either brown or clear, it either tastes of nothing, (as water should) or to tastes terrible as is happening a lot these days. We draw water, on our side of town, from the Tuli Reservoir and it's just awful. I am sure the City Fathers do their best under the circumstances, but our cousins across the railway line who get water from Criterion, are luckier than we are. Even a sophisticated filter system cannot rid the water of the metallic taste, plus our borehole water too is so limey that it's just not potable, and so we are forced to buy water as many countless households do these days.
Water Sommeliers of Bulawayo unite!!