David Biggs has travelled a complicated route to arrive in the world of wine. Brought up on a sheep farm in the Karoo he tried a number of careers, attending a course in graphic design at Michaelis Art School, becoming a milk tester in the Eastern Cape, a cattle rancher in Mpumalanga, a Basotho blanket designer in Lesotho and credit manager for a wholesale company in Johannesburg (such a failure that he threw an adding machine out of an office window in Sauer Street and resigned).
After arriving in journalism he was employed by the Friend Newspaper in Bloemfontein and later transferred to the Cape Argus in 1975. Here he was told to be a wine writer. (”But I know nothing about wine.” “Well, you’re a journalist, so learn about it.”) David enrolled at the Gilbeys Wine school (The Cape Wine Academy was not yet in existence) and after a basic course knew “everything about wine.” He then enrolled for an advanced course and emerged knowing :”nothing at all” about wine. He has been writing about wine – and learning about it – since 1978.
He qualified officially as a wine judge in 2000 and has judged in every single Veritas competition to date. He also judged in other competitions like the Muscadel Championships and Terroir Awards.
He has published several books about wine, brandy and cocktails and off course his beloved Karoo. His most recent book, The lighter side of wine is illustrated by the well-known Frans Groenewald.
He has joined the internet explosion and runs a wine-based website called davidbiggsonline.com
Other interests: Flying – not only did he obtain his private pilot’s licence, but has the distinction of having crashed a light aircraft and walked away from the wreckage. He has a yacht skipper’s licence and has sailed across the Atlantic and to St Helena Island. He’s passionate about Vespa scooters and has toured Europe twice on Vespas, as well as doing long scooter trips through South Africa.
David plays the piano badly and the harmonica and piano accordion equally badly. He can also squeeze a tune out of a set of bagpipes, but has been polite enough not to do so in company. He regards life as fun and wine as an important part of that fun.
From left to right: Bennie Howard, Dave Hughes, David Biggs and Duimpie Bayly
David receiving his award from ICWM Chairperson Dr Winifred Bowman
Fran Botha enjoying a glass of bubbly with David Biggs