"The main thing that I do is telling the story of the rich diversity of milk."

By Clara Olshansky
Updated June 13, 2017
worlds first milk sommelier
Credit: Courtesy of Great Big Story

This guy is a sommelier of milk, which sounds kind of like something Sesame Street would make up if they wanted to have a silly sommelier character without encouraging underage drinking. But it's a real thing: Bas de Groot is an expert in milk-tasting. In this mini documentary by CNN's Great Big Story, de Groot visits Clover Sonoma's Bucher Farms in the heart of California's wine country.

De Groot explains his job thusly: "The main thing that I do is telling the story of the rich diversity of milk." And lest you think that all milks are about the same (give or take a few percentage points of fat on the label) when he looks at four wine glasses full of milk and says, "Only by seeing these two milks, we see that milk is not white. I see a really big difference," it's clear that we really haven't been looking at our milk closely enough. De Groot goes on to describe milk's terroir as a combination of the geographical features that produced the milk and the farmer's own philosophy of milk-production.

Even if you're skeptical about the concept of a milk sommelier, definitely watch the video for such gems of de Groot wisdom as "Milk and wine are both made from living products: one is made by soil and the plant, and the other one is also made by the soil and the plant, but there is the cow in between" and "As a farmer you are standing in front of an orchestra and trying make a really cool symphony."

We advise all aspiring sommeliers out there to be careful: it's a short jump from milk sommeliers and water sommeliers to orange soda sommeliers and Kool-Aid sommeliers. And when you do buy organic milk, be sure you're getting the real thing. Even us average Joe milk drinkers should be able to appreciate when we're getting duped.