Text: Danie Botha
Photographs: Jannie Herbst
They call him Hoekie.
He is a farmer from the Heilbron area in the Free State who likes to hunt. He adores his Brahman cattle. He owns thousands of hectares of agricultural land, where he farms maize, among other things.
He was there when Bafana Bafana played Mexico in the World Cup’s opening game in Johannesburg. He has travelled around the world to watch the Springbok rugby team in action. And he loves wine. Dearly so. He even speaks the lingo.
He doesn’t call Shiraz wine “Shie-raz”, like most of us do. Nope. It’s “Shee-raa?”
He understands the process of wine making, the process of wine tasting, the history.
And there we were, on Hoekie’s Francolin Creek Wine Estate, in the Free State’s Riemland.
It’s a beautiful setting really, even in the winter months. There’s a four-star guesthouse, the cosy Cattleman’s Bar, a big reception area used for functions and weddings? and a wine cellar.
But wait. I’m getting carried away with Hoekie, the Free State farmer, and his wines.
We had left Gauteng earlier in the day, for the two-hour drive to the Riemland area.
The new Volkswagen T5 Kombi 2.0TDI had made steady progress towards the winter-brown Free State horizon, framed by bottle-blue skies. But our T5 was clearly experiencing an electronic malfunction: the trip computer reported that the big bus was drinking only 6,8 litres of diesel every 100km. Ridiculous, of course.
Apart from the trip computer glitch, the latest T5 ticked all the right boxes, as it has over the past 60 years, and 10-million units later. That’s how long “the Bus” has been around, and how many have been sold.
The latest incarnation continues the legend. The space, the driving comfort, the quality, the luxury. And, in this case, the performance from the new two-litre turbodiesel engine. Few other vehicles provide such a wonderful platform for spacious long-distance driving.