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Success brings song
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After receiving the Award, presented by sponsor Karen Evans from Wine Workforce, Jimi was so excited he broke into song. “I sing when I’m excited,” Charleston said. No wonder he is popular in cellar door. “It’s easy to be a good cellar door person in McLaren Vale,” Charleston said. “I’m surrounded by good wines and good people.” Award coordinator Jo Thompson, cellar door manager for Parri Estate, said the award was not just a wine industry initiative it was about selling the region as a whole to maximise the tourism experience. “McLaren Vale’s Most Outstanding Cellar Door Person Award was established 20 years ago to encourage cellar door representatives to be confident recommending other wineries, tourism activities and restaurants,” Thompson said. “It is designed to help the region’s wineries to work together rather than compete which is a point of difference for us. It’s about generating a sense of regional pride and encouraging a high level of customer service and commitment.” Judges, usually local business people with excellent customer service knowledge, visit nominated wineries incognito between July and November to assess each candidate on a range of criteria such as product knowledge, presentation, communication, attitude and regional knowledge. According to Thompson, Charleston won the award for going that step further in recommending regional activities. “Jimi was outstanding because he offered information without being asked. He is extremely enthusiastic,” she said. CharlestonJimi, originally from Cairns, said his experience of working in McLaren Vale for the past seven years had been wonderful. “I’ve met some terrific winemakers and it’s great to listen to their stories.” The three other finalists were Anthea Hoffman from Hoffman’s Winery, Barry Nolan from d’Arenberg and Kate Brown from Pertaringa.