Categorized | Introduction

Let me Introduce Myself

Posted on 24 October 2013 by David Biggs

Let me introduce myself.

I was born and raised in the Karoo, where my parents lived on a sheep farm. After trying several careers, including milk testing, cattle ranching and Basotho blanket designing, I settled on journalism and found a job as a reporter on the historic The Friend newspaper (now closed) in Bloemfontein, where I worked for 10 years before being transferred to Cape Town to work on the Cape Argus.

In Cape Town I discovered the delights of wine and attended two wine courses at the Gilbeys Wine academy in Stellenbosch. This was before the establishment of the Cape Wine Academy.

I produced a weekly wine column for the Cape Argus for some 30 years before retiring in 1999. During that time I qualified as a Cape wine judge and have served on various wine judging panels, including the Veritas Awards panel (since its inception) and the Wine of the Month Club panel, also since its inception in 1986.

I also serve on the annual Terroir Awards and Muscadel Association judging panels.

For the past 30 years or more I have written a daily column for the Cape Argus, under the heading of Tavern of the Seas, and contribute regularly to Good Taste Magazine.

I’ve also written several books on wine and cocktails, as well as a collection of short stories called Karoo Ramblings and a guide to Cape Town called This Is Cape Town, published by Struik. My books have been translated into a number of languages including Chinese and Japanese.

I live in Fish Hoek with two second-hand cats and sometimes irritate my neighbours by playing a piano accordion. I also paint very amateur pictures, usually of dragons.

I enjoy riding a Vespa scooter and have managed several long scooter journeys in South African and Europe.

I think life is fun.




5 Comments For This Post

  1. Nick Goldie Says:

    (not for publication)

    Dave – sorry to drop in and out of your life in this bouncy way.

    Shortly after you replied to my first message, my computer was wiped by an electrical storm. This sort of thing always happens when the technical people are away on their (well deserved) holidays which can last from Christmas to Easter. I’m now back in the world of the electronic living, but have no memories, addresses, saved correspondence or anything of that sort – hence using this venue. Meanwhile, I’ve been somewhat busy for the past two weeks with a major bushfire (2012 ha) in very rough gorge country, just down the road. My fire brigade radio tells me – as I write – that there are still some hot-spots which have to be found and doused. For a while we thought that it was going to head north by way of Namadgi National Park into the suburbs of Canberra, 60km away. This sounds improbable, but in January 2003 the fire which started just outside Canberra made its way, by way of the Namadgi National Park, to shower us with embers across the river. You probably have no idea of where I am: my wife Jenny and I have 100 acres of scrubby country beside the Murrumbidgee, 60km south of Canberra, with non-productive olive trees, kangaroos, feral fallow deer, weeds, gum trees. We do our weekly shopping in Cooma.
    Enough already … I look forward to hearing from you -


  2. Johne907 Says:

    Its actually a nice and helpful piece of information. Im glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing. kaagfeedkefe

  3. David Biggs Says:

    Great. Keep in touch with this space.

  4. Ingrid de Beer Says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the introduction :)
    I recently worked on a television show about the Karoo- it truly is a magical place. I would like to send you a box set of the series.Please pop me a mail so we can get in touch?


  5. David Biggs Says:

    Hi Ingrid,
    My e-mail address is
    My postal address is PO Box 236, Muizenburg, 7950.
    You’re absolutely right about the Karoo being a magical place.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

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Tavern of the Seas

Tavern of the Seas readers often ask for details of past issues. To make things easier (and to amuse you… or make you think) past columns will now appear here, roughly two days after they are first printed in the Cape Argus. Thanks to Independent Newspapers for allowing us to do this.

  • Sounds cthat conjure up memories

    August 7, 2015 at 10:50 am by David Biggs

    (Published : 21st July 2015)
    Wherever I go I find myself surrounded by photographers. Smart phones have turned us all into shutter-bugs. Go into a restaurant and you’ll see diners photographing the food on their plates and the companions sharing their tables. Waiters are regularly asked to take a picture of the group at the table, which will probably be sent to relatives on the other side of the world before the diners have even finished their main course.

    Drive along any of the Cape’s scenic roads and you’ll see groups of tourists busily photographing each other (or themselves) against the background of False Bay or Chapman’s Peak.

    It seems we’re obsessed by visual images. We want to take the whole world around us and store it all in the little box in our pocket.

    But there’s more to the world than scenic images. Many of my clearest memories are of sounds rather than scenes.

    I clearly remember many of the sounds from my childhood in the Karoo – the creak and clank of a windmill pumping water, the rattle of a clapper-lark’s wings in the veld, the chorus of a flock of sheep being rounded up for dosing, the click-clicking of shears at shearing time, the murmur of doves in the tall pine trees and the clank of milk buckets being brought to the kitchen in the early morning.

    I read recently that the National Trust in Britain is making a collection of seaside sounds, in co-operation with the British Library. People are invited to contribute five-minute sound recordings of their favourite beaches – the sound of feet walking over pebble beaches, waves crashing on the shore, ice cream being scooped, seagulls circling overhead, a small spade digging in the sand and filling a bucket. Every seaside resort and every beach has its own set of sounds and these are being stored for future generations.

    Sounds change over the years, just as scenes do.

    I wonder whether anybody in South Africa is thinking of storing some of the sounds that make up our diverse country. Many of those I remember have already vanished. We never hear the fish-horn honking in the market place any more, or the call of a small newspaper seller shouting “Argy, Argy.”

    What a fascinating symphony of memories those sounds could be. Will future generations remember the sound of the scrap-iron collector’s horse-drawn cart clip-clopping through the suburbs, the continuous hooting of minibus taxis in Sea Point, the happy chat of patrons in a Khayelitsha tavern, the echoing announcements at the Cape Town International Airport, the seagulls screeching over the fishing boats as they unload their catches in Kalk Bay.

    Quite apart from being a fascinating sound picture of the Mother City, just think what delight a library of Cape Town’s sounds would offer to someone who is visually impaired.


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