Rainwater trickles down 3,900 feet beneath a volcano and then flows downstream before it is captured to become Volvic. All photos copyright © 2004 Volvic. All rights reserved.




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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.


February 2007

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

Volvic And Volvic Citrus

Volcanic Mineral Water From Central France



CAPSULE REPORT: Drawn from 3,900 feet down inside a range of ancient volcanoes that are now covered in the lush greenery of the Auvergne Forest in central France, Volvic is a supple, almost sweet water that defies the many layers of basalt and lava through which it has filtered on its way to the bottle. The new Volvic Citrus, a sweetened citrus water, is an excellent spa drink.

Volvic is a highly-distinctive natural mineral water, drawn from the Clairvic spring, in the volcanic highlands of the Parc Naturel des Volcans d’Auvergne, a national park in the Massif Central region of France. As is true of all great water sources, it is a protected area with no industry or heavy farming. The magnificent landscape is a leisure area for outdoors enthusiasts to enjoy hiking, biking, rafting, canoeing, popular paragliding and hang-gliding—while drinking plenty of Volvic, of course.

In 1751, a Parisian mineralogist, Jean-Etienne Guettard, noticed that stones used to build local homes resembled lava from Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna. He went to Puy de la Nugère, a mountaintop (in a chain of what that later were identified as volcanic mountains) that overlooks the commune* of Volvic, and the pumice stone lava flows confirmed his theory that these were volcanic mountains. Not until 1927 were significant water resources discovered under the Puy de la Nugère lava flow, and in 1961, deep exploration of the geology revealed water with remarkable purity and composition—thus leading to the discovery of the Clairvic spring from which Volvic is bottled.

*French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or cities in the United States.

What Makes Volvic Different

Puy de la NugereThe many layers of volcanic rock and sand through which the rainwater seeps, purifies the water while naturally imparting a low mineral content and the essential elements which give Volvic its unique profile.

Image: The underground strata beneath the Puy de la Nugère volcano, more than 3,900 feet deep. Rainwater seeps very slowly underground through porous layers of puzzolana, basalt, ash and fissured lava down to the granite bed on the old valley bottom. When it reaches the bedrock, the water slowly flows downstream where it is captured from the spring.

Volvic water is drawn from deep inside the volcanic aquifer and is conveyed through a stainless steel pipeline to the plant, where it is bottled immediately without any exterior contact: from Mother Nature to consumer. Hundreds of daily checks ensure that Volvic remains as pure above ground as it was below. More than 2 million bottles of Volvic are shipped around the world every day.

The volcanic geological of Volvic’s origins is evident in its 30 mg/l level of silica: among mineral waters, Volvic has one of the world’s highest levels of this element. A perfectly Volvic Mineral Waterneutral pH of 7.0 and an overall low 109 mg/l total mineralization make Volvic truly unique in its chemistry. At 6.3 mg/l, the nitrate level is a tad higher than the ideal 5.0 maximum, but it is a slight excess.

While one might expect a volcanic water to be hard, Volvic is as soft and sweet as a nursery: a light water that still has a personality—though not the heavy mineral personality one might expect. When you taste it, look for both the softness and the sweetness and notice the lack of mineral flavors like salts—but see if you can perceive a hint of the “lava.” If you’re comparing waters, contrast Volvic to Icelandic Glacial, with a crispness so apparent, it’s like a cross between icy steel and fresh crease in a pair of pants.

The only thing we don’t like about Volvic is the packaging: a flimsy plastic wrap around the bottle that falls off before you’ve finished drinking it. It’s not like this is a bargain brand, or that the plastic wrap is an environmentally-friendly effort. Volvic is owned by the huge international food conglomerate, Groupe Danone. They can afford a less temporary label.

Volvic Natural Lemon & Natural Orange

About 4 years ago when we first tasted Volvic’s orange-flavored, unsweetened water, we were charmed. At that time, there were only orange-flavored seltzers, artificially flavored: We loved the natural orange essence in Volvic’s crisp spring water. The product has re-emerged sweetened, with 14g of sugar in a 500 ml (1.05 pint) bottle. We personally don’t care for the whole Fruitwater concept of flavored, sweetened waters—we prefer our water flavored but without the sugar, and we loved the product unsweetened as Glaceau (manufacturers of Fruitwater) originally made it. But, cater to the soda-drenched American palate, and you can get Americans to drink “water” as long as you don’t carbonate it. (Soda is flavored, sweetened, carbonated water; leave out the carbonation and you have flavored water.)

The French at Volvic do it better than the Americans. The two Volvic citrus flavors start with a better-quality water, and have a very different flavor profile: they taste like dilute orange juice and dilute lemonade, respectively. If you love your orange juice or your lemonade, think of them as lower-calorie spa versions. If it hurts you to give up your O.J. when you’re on a diet, we endorse Volvic Natural Orange and Natural Lemon at 30 calories for 8 ounces. They may not call it “spa water,” but we think they’ve missed out on a marketing opportunity. It’s what we would expect to be handed at Canyon Ranch.

Volvic Citrus


Volvic Mineral Water

Auvergne Forest, Central France
pH Factor
Hardness       N/A

*TDS = Total Dissolved Solids
N/A = Not Available


Still Water


  • 1.5 Liter (1500 ml) Bottles
    $30.00/Case (12 Bottles)
  • 1 Liter (1000 ml) Bottles
    $26.50/Case (12 Bottles)
  • 500 ml Bottles
    $26.50/Case (24 Bottles)
  • 500 ml Bottles: Lemon or

    $31.00/Case (24 Bottles)

Purchase online at Volvic-na.com.

Available at fine retailers nationwide.

Volvic Water Bottles

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change.


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