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    (not for publication)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.

  • Stand up, speak up and then shut up

    April 1, 2015 at 5:37 am by David Biggs

    (Published: 30th March 2015)
    I recently wrote about the Detroit Soup project where citizens of that run-down, once great city were working to together to improve their surroundings by initiating small projects that didn’t cost a lot but would make a difference to people’s lives.
    One fact that stood out when I read the story online was the sentence that said people with a project proposal were allowed to present their idea – in just four minutes. I wondered whether that was enough time to convince people you have a great idea.
    It is!
    We have become a world of wafflers – from parliaments to board-rooms and committee meetings, we talk too much.
    I can’t imagine a project that cannot be outlined in four minutes or less. Whether it’s sending your army to fight in a foreign country or building a rabbit hutch, you can get the idea out there easily within four minutes and then allow discussion on it, none of which should exceed four minutes.
    If you think I am over-simplifying things, look up some of the greatest speeches of all time (They’re out there in the Internet, easily accessible).
    Read William Wilberforce’s speech abolishing slavery, Neville Chamberlain’s speech announcing that Britain was at war with Germany, Winston Churchill’s “Blood Sweat and Tears” speech, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and many more speeches which can be said to have changed the course of history.
    You’ll find the one thing common to them all is brevity. They didn’t waffle about party politics or the international economy. They didn’t try to crack jokes or spew forth famous quotations from the Latin or Greek philosophers.
    In each case they had an important announcement to make; they made it and shut up. Their speeches were probably memorable precisely because they were short and to the point.
    Maybe the reason there are so few memorable speeches today is that our leaders – whether in politics, business or religion – actually have very little of value to say.
    They might have great ideas, but are afraid to make them public for fear of offending some minority group.
    The result is that they spout forth rivers of words – some of our leaders have been known to speak non-stop for more than an hour. That’s thousand of words poured out and signifying nothing.
    Chamberlain declared war in under 10 minutes, Wilberforce announced the abolition of slavery in about eight minutes.
    Our modern orators will spend a whole hour saying their party is better than everybody else’s party and nobody believes them anyway.
    Not one single speech presented in any modern parliament or boardroom will go down in history as having changed the world. I suspect all that hot air may have contributed dangerously to global warming, though.
    No wonder our leaders have to give away free tee-shirts and cool-drinks in order to attract listeners. They certainly don’t come for the words.
    How about introducing a general four-minute rule for all speeches?

    Continue Reading
  • A dinosaur in a world of electronic banking

    March 31, 2015 at 5:30 am by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
  • A miniature railway world provides gigantic fun

    March 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
  • Small people with big ideas help change the world

    March 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
     Have 111 more links to previous articles please

    Nederburg 2013 Interviews David Biggs