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    (not for publication)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.

  • Is it worth having so many car models on the market?

    July 22, 2015 at 6:54 am by David Biggs

    (Published: 20th July 2015)
    I was chatting about standardization in a recent column and happened to mention that, by and large, car controls had at last been standardized.
    Not so, says James, who sent me an e-mail pointing out the differences between European-based cars and those produce in the Far East.
    I think he’s referring specifically to the levers operating the lights and windscreen wipers.
    “European cars have their controls on the opposite side to the Asiatic ones,” he says.
    “What makes it even more exciting is driving two cars from the same manufacturer where one car is made in England and the other in Japan/India. In this case it is Honda CRV (England) and a Brio (India). Just to complicate matters even further the CRV models (when mine was purchased) that were manufactured in different countries also differed.”
    It made me think how different motoring was when I started driving, more years ago than I care to confess.
    Farming motorists in the Karoo almost all drove American cars – Fords, Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Dodges, Plymouths and Studebakers. Rich racehorse breeders travelled in Cadillacs.
    Some town drivers had English cars – Austins, Morrises, Singers, Wolseleys, Humbers and Rileys. Rich city stockbrokers drove Jaguars.
    British cars fell apart rather quickly if they were driven on Karoo gravel roads. American cars, with their big tyres and squishy suspension, fared much better.
    Not many people drove German cars because it was too soon after the war and many wounds were still too fresh.
    Very few had ever heard of French cars.
    As far as I remember the basic difference between British and America cars was that American cars had all their bling on the outside – fins, chrome strips, fancy bonnet ornaments and white-wall tyres.
    British cars kept their flashiness to the interior of the vehicle in the form of hand stitched leather upholstery and polished walnut dashboards. Subtle elegance.
    I always thought this was rather symbolic of the two countries. The brash ”Look at me!” Americans and the conservative British who hated outward flash but appreciated fine old fashioned craftsmanship.
    Today it’s almost impossible to tell where a car comes from. The body may be built in Brazil, the gearbox in Korea and the engine in China, with all the electrical fittings coming from India.
    And as James says, sometimes different versions of the same model can come from two different countries.
    It hardly seems worth having so many models on the market. It must make life very confusing for the people who provide spare parts. “Do you want the carburetor for the Japanese model with the Indian engine or the Korean model with the Chinese engine?”
    Under that very flimsy exterior shell it seems all cars are a mish-mash of bits and pieces from all around the world.
    I suppose this is what is known as “globalization.”

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    July 21, 2015 at 6:51 am by David Biggs

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    July 17, 2015 at 6:47 am by David Biggs

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