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    (not for publication)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.

  • So who are the real bosses – machines or humans?

    May 25, 2015 at 6:35 am by David Biggs

    (Published: 21st May 2015)
    When I was a teenager I used to enjoy visiting my Uncle Douglas on his farm, Hathersage, in the Middelburg district. He was something of an inventor and the farm held all sorts of wonderful things to capture a boy’s imagination. I don’t know whether Eskom was even in existence then. Farms supplied their own electricity. Most farmers had petrol-operated generators to provide lights (but not heat) and Uncle Douglas was different. He had rigged up a wind generator mounted in a beefwood tree in the garden. We’re talking about the late 1940s here, so Eskom hadn’t even begun to mess up the electricity supply and force people to re-invent wind power.
    My memories of that farm are always backed up by the sound of the wind turbine blades’ “whup-whup” against the whispering of the wind in the beefwood tree.
    But the supreme pleasure of a visit to the farm was an attic filled with old back issues of Popular Mechanics magazine. I have been a fan of that publication ever since. I used to crawl up into that attic and be lost in a magical world for hours.
    I notice a change in the direction of the magazine recently. The editors seem besotted with the idea of robots (not traffic light “robots,” real ones). Hardly an issue goes by without a story about robots and artificial intelligence (not politicians’ “intelligence,” the real stuff).
    It’s a subject that has captured the imaginations of science fiction writers for generations – can we create machines that can think for themselves? And if we do, will they apply their logic to the study of humankind, and what happens if they find us humans to be basically defective mentally?
    It’s a scary subject and one which keeps me awake at night.
    But I have another late night problem – are there some humans more sympathetic to machines than others? Maybe we should be studying how humans can think like machines, rather than worrying about machines that might be able to think like humans.
    In modern life we have come to depend more and more on machines. We drive them to work, we use them to manufacture stuff and to communicate with each other. We use machines to process our supper – and to cook it. Machines wash our clothes and dry them. Machines clean our homes, mow our lawns, clean our pools and warn us when somebody opens a locked door.
    I have noticed that some people are continually fighting against their machines. Their cars break down more than usual. Their washing machines develop leaks and their fridges go on the blink, ruining a month’s supply of food.
    Some people will keep a car in good running condition for 20 years, while other wear out cars in a matter of three years.
    Could it be that some of us are already learning to speak Machine? Maybe we can feel when a machine is unhappy and stop tormenting it before it breaks down.
    Maybe the future lies not with the intelligent robots, but with people intelligent enough to understand the needs of machines.
    So who are the real bosses – machines or humans?

    Continue Reading
  • May 21, 2015 at 5:56 am by David Biggs

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  • Lack of bright sparks yet another service blow to the poor

    May 21, 2015 at 5:50 am by David Biggs

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  • Cutting out email is good for your health – and for business

    May 18, 2015 at 5:34 am by David Biggs

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     Have 142 more links to previous articles please

    Nederburg 2013 Interviews David Biggs