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    (not for publication)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.

  • It’s never too late to be what you might have been

    February 27, 2015 at 5:19 am by David Biggs

    (Published: 25th February 2015)
    Age is just a number.
    I am always impressed when I here of somebody doing something amazing in spite of being very young – or very old.
    Two stories caught my eye in a recent issue of The Week magazine.
    The first one told of a 13-year-old boy from California who became concerned about the fact that blind people had to rely on old fashioned technology to produce books printed in braille. Shubham Banerjee took out his Lego set and started working on a better design. He incorporated a Lego robotics kit and managed to produce a cheaper and easier version of the existing Braille printer, which converts the alphabet into a series of raised dots that can be read by visually impaired people.
    He created his prototype on the family kitchen table and has received start-up financing to produce his printer commercially.
    Being only 13, however, he is not legally allowed to sign contracts, so he has appointed his mother to be the new company’s CEO.
    I reckon she’s a very lucky mom.
    With talent like that he should go far. He deserves to be a millionaire by the time he leaves school.
    At the other end of the age scale, there’s a story of a 90-year-old Kenyan grandmother who enrolled at a primary school five years ago in order to learn how to read and write. Priscilla Sitienei worked as a midwife for 65 years before finally retiring and is believed to be the world’s oldest primary school pupil.
    She has obviously done well, as she was made a school prefect last year.
    Asked why she decided to go to school she said she wanted to inspire young people – and girls in particular – to go to school. Too many older people in her country simply don’t go to school and Priscilla wants to change that.
    When she hears people saying they are too old to go to school she tells them: “I am at school at 90 years old, so you have no excuse. You should be in school.”
    There’s a common thread running through these two inspiring stories – both the 13-year-old and the 90-yer-old want to make it possible for people to read.
    As I have said soften in this column, once you are at ease with reading the whole world is open to you. All the experience and knowledge gathered by the human race over thousands of years is there for you, free – if you can read.
    Whether you want to make good wine, play a guitar or build a space-ship, there’s a book to tell you how.
    We should all be encouraging people to read more.

    Continue Reading
  • The magical past of motoring in the Cape

    February 26, 2015 at 4:58 am by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
  • Maybe we should just privatise the whole country

    February 25, 2015 at 5:55 am by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
  • Watch out for illogical advances in technology.

    February 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm by David Biggs

    Continue Reading
     Have 88 more links to previous articles please

    Nederburg 2013 Interviews David Biggs