Cabernet Sauvignon is always thought to be a tough variety. This year many Cabernet vineyards have held very well when compared to Shiraz (and often very well compared to Grenache).
In the Sellicks region Cabernet is holding. Most fruit burnt from the early heat wave has shriveled up. Some vineyards, where fruit is exposed to the west sun, have stewed fruit but in general fruit is sound. Some growers have been asked to removed stewed fruit before the block is harvested.
Vines further to the north in Blewitt Springs Cabernet is looking more tired. Cabernet is shriveling up. This is a concern as the fruit is not yet ripe and has tobacco, or leafy characters in the skin. These blocks still need some time to develop ripe fruit characteristics.
Treat each vineyard in a case by case basis. If you get the opportunity look at vineyards that in a similar location as yours and look for differences. Which way do the rows run? North/South? How do they water? Have they used sulphur late in summer? Have they used Kelp/Seaweed products? Urea?
This vintage has been the most trying in our experience, try and stay positive and learn from what has occurred. Give priority to varieties that look marketable next year and management techniques that you see working.