Hawk & Horse Blog

Here we are in September watching the fruit on the vine develop and ripen. We are seeing brix at between 22 – 23 degrees throughout the vineyard. One degree of movement per week in terms of brix – or sugar – is anticipated. Looking to harvest at about 25 degrees brix, we imagine that we will begin to bring in fruit in another week and one half to two weeks.


As of the beginning of this week we are about 90% into veraison - nearly all of the clusters have their deep indigo color throughout. Now we will begin watching the brix - or sugar content of the juice. Our weather cycle of warm days/cool nights has held consistent this year. We had some peaks of heat mid summer and some cooling - and even fog recently but nothing too out of the ordinary. Our hearty mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is thriving! Sugars are between 18 - 20 degrees brix. We are guessing at harvest mid to late September - perfect!

At 2,200 feet, our Red Hills vineyard is moving beautifully through veraison. Today is August 19th and we are about 50% through veraison. Tonnage looks slightly more than our usual 2-tons per acre - a nice average for this rugged mountain terrain. It is still anyone's guess, but we are thinking a slightly late harvest maybe into October - November for our Latigo/Port which we harvest late in the season.


Slightly cooler than usual temperatures in the vineyard this past week. Balmy and mid-80s. Cooling at night to the 50s. This is extending hang time and developing fruit of character and complexity. We have a lot of humidity in the air. We feel this will help the fruit develop without over drying the berries. We are still a few weeks from harvest at the earliest. Looking like a beautiful crop.

Veraison is when we begin to see the beginning of purple coloration on the fruit on our red varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, etc.). This signifies the beginning of ripening. And, this process has begun. As of this week we are seeing just a few berries on each cluster with hints of purple overlaying the green.

The growing season this year has been rather constant - but not without variation. We had a heating trend in July with temperatures into and above 100 degrees. But we have also had some refreshing cool days in the 70s and low 80s - and even a hint of drizzle once or twice. While it is still anybody's guess, I am feeling like it may be a late harvest this year. I also see this as the kind of growing season that will bring us fruit of distinction. The long growing season will lend complexity to the fruit. We are seeing clusters that are long and open with thick skinned berries. These "open" clusters are able to resist mildew growth. This is a real blessing should we have any rains before harvest. The thick skins are what will make this vintage super flavorful.

Did you know that red wines derive all of their color from the skins? The flesh of the fruit is a very pale shade of translucent off-white. The thick, dark skins of Cabernet Sauvignon imbue the wine with color and phenols which flavor the wine - and provide the health benefits associated with moderate wine consumption. So pour yourself a glass of your favorite Cabernet and enjoy - you deserve it!


Hawk and Horse Vineyards