Danya Declusin shares her experience within the Austin wine community.
By Haley Noble. Photos courtesy of Cape Bottle Room.
Wine bar and shop Cape Bottle Room brings South African libations to the Austin area. Co-founder Danya Declusin knew she wanted to highlight these wines, as their South African origin makes them unique to the Austin community and Texas as a whole. She has an extreme passion for her work and strives to curate an experience for each guest, with carefully selected wine options and a desire to create a sense of community. As a woman and mother in the wine industry, Declusin has overcome her share of obstacles but insists that the jump into this work was worth every second.
When curating your own wine list, what do you take into account?
I want to do several things. I want to represent South Africa and its more notable varieties and sometimes notable wineries. I also want to try and appeal to the Austin and Texan palettes. I feel like Texans definitely love big, bold reds, and there are a lot of really phenomenal ones in South Africa. If I’m meeting with a younger group of people, I want to throw in a lot of natural and orange wines and highlight what South Africa does well on that front.
As a woman in the wine industry, have you faced any challenges?
Personally, it’s definitely challenging as a female to have kids and run a business. But in terms of different relationships, I feel like I surround myself with a lot of other female business owners, and they are all very collaborative, so it hasn’t hit on that front. There have definitely been times I’ve experienced people referring to my husband as an authority when, really, I’m there every day and he comes in like once a month. There are still some old-school mindsets on that, but a lot of that comes more so with customers than it does with collaborators.
In that circle you’ve surrounded yourself with, what about having that community of fellow female business and restaurant owners is special or inspiring?
A lot of women in Austin specifically work in the wine industry and the food industry, so I feel like it’s supported well here. I feel like they’re here so much, so many of us have experienced the same attitudes toward us being owners or holding higher positions. We’ve all dealt with the same struggle, in that sense. When you have a lot of women who also have children, that complexity is ever-present.
Is there any advice you have for women wanting to start in the wine industry?
I feel like if there’s any advice, it really is just to take the risk and have confidence. There are so many people out there now, and there are so many women who want to build up and support other women, that it’s worth taking. I hear from so many women who are constantly saying, “I keep thinking about doing this,” and there is just so much interest in starting a business. I wish I had started my business years ago, but I guess everything happens when it’s supposed to.