Los Angeles water sommelier wants bottled water treated like wine

Water sommelier Martin Riese has seen the eye-roll and heard it before: “Water tastings? Only in L.A.”

Los Angeles, birthplace of many food trends, may prove the perfect setting for the next phase in Riese’s campaign to make people think about water in the same way they think about wine.

U.S. consumers spent $18.8 billion on bottled water last year, more than any other nation, according to Euromonitor International. And, the residents of drought-stricken California are obsessed with all things water.

“For me, it’s about taste,” said Riese, who adds that the flavor and character of water also is determined by terroir, which covers such things as geology, soil and climate.

Water has been a decades-long fixation for German-born Riese, who as a child loved traveling with his parents and tasting the tap water at each destination. He parlayed that singular interest into a career.

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