Sabella Vineyard, a small McLaren Vale winery, has been named as the producer of Australia’s top export wine for 2009.

Sabella’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon beat 16,716 other wines to win the George Mackey Memorial Trophy and be judged the best of all wines submitted in 2009 for quality assessment and export approval by AWBC expert assessors.

Winemaker Michael Petrucci has given credit for the win to advice from the late Greg Trott, Wirra Wirra founder and one of McLaren Vale’s and Australia’s most notable winemakers.

‘[He] once told me that any fool can make wine but it’s the amount of passion and heart and soul you pour into your winemaking and what you do when you’re making the wine and how you do it is what gives the results,’ Petrucci said today when accepting the George Mackey Trophy at the annual general meeting of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.

Sabella Vineyards was founded in 1975 by Joe and Rosa Petrucci on 40 acres next to Wirra Wirra. Joe and Greg Trott became best friends.

The Petrucci’s now own 110 adjoining acres and their son, Michael, has been making wine since 1999, producing up to 4,000 cases a year, 40% of which is exported to Asia.

Wirra Wirra won the George Mackey Trophy in 2003 with its 2001 RSW MacLaren Vale Shiraz.

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Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide