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"And you're never told if you got it right," says Burgess. "There's a massive discussion afterwards. When I took my certified, there were just two wines, and when I walked out, I said what I thought they were, and half the people said, 'Oh, no, no, no, no.'"

"The real goal is this," concludes Chapman. "You're standing at a table, and somebody asks you a question, and you know the answer. And you can answer in a way that's really articulate. The final goal, I think, is to be able to help make sense of these wines to people who don't speak the language we speak."

"And the better you are, the less pretension will come across," agrees Krikorian. "You can get pretentious, and then, when you get really good, all the insecurity goes away."

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