The Water Sommelier

Photo by Kim Rudge

When I hear the word sommelier, I think of a wine professional; someone who tastes wine for a living. It seems I was too narrow in my definition.

In Germany, there’s a water sommelier who can help you choose which water to go with your meal.

Water from Northern Germany tastes fizzy. Spanish water tastes fizzy with a hint of saltiness.

Water from Tennessee is sold in bottles encrusted with Swarovski crystals and costs €65 ($92) per bottle.

[sommelier] Jerk Martin Riese stands for distinction. He advises the type of person who finds it important to know which type of water would go well with an acidic Riesling — in this case still water would be best — whereas an old, tired Bordeaux requires something with a bit more fizz. He is also used to stifling any qualms people might have about the potentially decadent nature of quaffing exotic luxury water.

“How would we Germans feel as exporters,” he says, “if everyone around the world only consumed local products?” Besides, he says, it’s not as if scallops live in Germany’s Elbe or Spree rivers.

It is Riese’s mission to imbue water with meaning as a product. It is the price, the bottle design, and above all the story behind the product that make this possible.

Photo by Kim Rudge.

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