Dave was a well-loved and respected member of the South African Wine industry. He was an author of books on drink and allied subjects. He was a distiller, wine maker, wine auctioneer, international wine and spirit judge, and founder of the Cape Wine Academy and was often called upon to bless events with his inimitable funny verse.
Dave was born on 12 June 1938 in Gatoomadistrict, then Rhodesia, and was educated at Umtali High School there. He served an apprenticeship as a distiller at African Distillers in 1956 and filled several positions before moving to South Africa in 1986. Operations manager SFW (Stellenbosch Farmers Winery, now Distell) Transvaal, General manager SFW Natal, Winery Manager SFW Stellenbosch, Marketing Manager Consumer Relations SFW until 1989. Independent and Freelance since 1989.
Dave founded the Cape Wine Academy in 1979 and appointed Phyllis Hands as the first principal. He was involved with the Nederburg Auction since its inception in 1974 and consulted to them for many years.
He consulted to the National Veritas Competition, South African Airways Wine Selections and to the International Wine and Spirit Competition in Britain.
Memberships and Honours:
American Society of Enologista
Society of Wine Educators
International Wine and Spirit Journalists
Life Member of the International Wine and Food Society
2001 – invited to join Worshipful Company of Distillers (the first non-resident of Britain to be given this honour since the guild was formed in 1638 to control and protect the production of spirits in the city of London)
2002 – Freeman of the City of London
2003 – Keeper of the Quaich (A Scotch Whisky Association to honour those who have contributed to the Scotch Whisky Industry)
2011 – honoured by the South African Port Producers’ Association (SAPPA) for his contribution to building the image of Port in South Africa and internationally.
2013 – Honoured as one of the Icons of South African Wine
Living with wine
300 Great South African Wines
South African Wine Buyers Guide (9 editions)
Winelands of the Cape
Visiting Wine Routes
Enjoy Wine (Co-author: Dave Biggs), 1990
The Complete Book of South African Wine (Co authors: Phyllis Hands and John Kench), Struik Publishers, 1992
Hughes on Booze, 1997
Wines and Brandies of the Cape of Good Hope (Co author: Phyllis Hands), Stephan Phillips, 1998
200 Best Value Wines in South Africa, 2001
New World Of Wine From The Cape Of Good Hope: The Definitive Guide To The South African Wine Industry (Co- authors: Phyllis Hands and Keith Phillips), Roundhouse Publishing, 2002
Brandies of the Cape, 2004
A Dictionary of South African Wine, 2004
Contributor to John Platter’s South African Wine Guide since 1996
Dave was married to Lorna (nee Roos) who sadly passed away following a car crash in the Northern Cape on 25/08/22.
David Louis Hughes, a South African wine legend, died peacefully in Stellenbosch on Monday 6 February 2023 at the age of 84.