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    (not for publication)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.

  • What your books say about you…

    July 3, 2015 at 6:04 am by David Biggs

    (Published: 1st July 2015)
    I’ve always felt you can tell a lot about people by looking at the books – or lack of them – in their homes.
    Some homes are littered with books; some on shelves and other lying open on tables and on the floor next to easy chairs. Obviously these people love books and treat them as casual old friends to engage in random chats and conversations at any time.
    Then there are the homes where there are very few books. Maybe you’ll see a couple of expensive coffee table books tastefully set out — on the coffee table. These books are not old friends, they’re like your local city councilor or a famous actor you happen to know. You parade them to show you have good connections, but you’d never drop in to their homes for a casual glass of wine.
    Then there are those who collect matched sets of volumes – the 10-volume collection of Elizabethan plays, or the complete works of the Greek philosophers. They look most grand and educated on the shelves, but they’re never actually opened. These people probably attend a week of Summer School lectures and then claim to know all about a subject.
    Those who treat books as old friends can share the whole world with them. They can explore faraway lands together, discover wonderful facts about bygone times, soar into space or learn about science, art, nature or the workings of a steam engine.
    Some people claim you need only a computer and you can do away with cumbersome books that clutter up your life, but this is not the point. Computer learning is rather line Facebook “friending”. You may claim to have 10 000 Facebook “friends” and not actually know a single one of them. Reading a book on a small screen is like getting a postcard from somebody far away. Nice to be in touch, but very distant.
    Then there’s the matter of sharing. Book lovers are often so excited by their recent discoveries that they urge friends to share the experience.
    “I found this book terribly interesting. Borrow it and see what you think.”
    Now we’re in dangerous territory, because people who borrow books all too often forget to return them (or even forget who they borrowed the book from).
    I have a friend who bought a wonderful Greek cookery book while on holiday in Greece some years ago. A mutual friend was so impressed by one of the Greek dishes that she borrowed the book. Now she’s probably forgotten where she got it originally and the owner has forgotten who borrowed it.
    Maybe we book lovers should all have stickers printed, saying: “Please return this book to its owner, John Jones.”
    We’d save a lot of friendships that way.

    Continue Reading
  • Living the same day over and over

    July 2, 2015 at 6:37 am by David Biggs

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  • Finding the secret of happiness

    July 1, 2015 at 6:33 am by David Biggs

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  • Why risk lives if you can buy the goods in a shop?

    June 29, 2015 at 6:49 am by David Biggs

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     Have 169 more links to previous articles please

    Nederburg 2013 Interviews David Biggs