What’s a sommelier? Generally, it’s an expert in wine; someone who’s able to understand the subtleties and nuances of different types of wine from different regions. Martin Riese is a sommelier in his own right; but in water.
That gives people quite a pause. Water tastes the same, most people would argue. Others would say that it has no taste at all. However, according to Riese, water has a unique taste profile. By tasting water, he can identify the terra of different regions in the world.
Riese was certified by the German Water Trade Association as a water sommelier in 2010, becoming one of the handful of people in the world who have that title. His interest in water was born in childhood, when his parents took him on trips all across Europe. He noticed that the tap water in each region has distinctive tastes and qualities. Water character is determined by the soil, geology and temperature of the place that it’s from, making it either harsher and harder or softer.
Using his intricate knowledge of water, Riese works for the Patina Group in Los Angles at Ray’s and Stark bar where he curates a water menu of more than forty pages. The menu details mineral content, taste and the place of origin of a wide variety of spring water. Ranging from $9-$20, most customers are a little astounded at the options and the price, having been used to receiving water for free.
Want a peek into Martin Riese’s world? Check out the video below.