Daniela DaSuta, 9.14.18
Daniela DaSuta is owner of Sekt Wine Consulting in Austin, TX. She is a wine educator and has recently taken a role as the Wine Studies instructor with the Culinary Institute of America. She is finishing up her WSET Diploma and will soon be preparing for the rigorous MW Certification!
How many years have you been in the business?
13 years basically. I planted grapes as a kid. I hated it. I thought my mother was awful for moving us yet again to the south, which I was not familiar with. And then I went to school and worked service at Taverna for a couple of years, then went back to help the family with self distribution.
I started a wine school there. I wanted more projects and then again ended up leaving the vineyard and starting my own consulting company. I also do marketing for three wineries and one brewery through Pen & Tell Us. And starting next week I will be working with the Culinary Institute of America, doing their Intro to Wine Studies program for the fall semester and developing their consumer wine education program.
Sekt was founded two and a half years ago but I went full time six months ago. My mom is an entrepreneur, so I wanted to be one too and I wanted to teach, so I thought that would be fun to do that too.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The teaching. I love that part. And oddly it’s been consumers that have been really receptive, not that wine professional aren’t, but consumers just seem to be so excited about what's happening. They're smart and all have really good palates and giving consumers confidence is great. It doesn’t feel like work.
Can you describe any prejudices or setbacks you experienced in this industry in regards to being a woman?
Yeah, I think one thing that clearly stands out is an instance where I had gone to a buyer tasting where I was invited by the importer, and I tasted some really great wines. I thanked him and he texted me later and said ‘nice legs.’ What about my brain? It never occurred to me that I would be invited to something for that reason. I don't want to be a victim, but I don't want to be silent about some of the comments I’ve received or some of the other comments that other people have received that I've heard.
How can we as women become aware of our prejudices toward each other? and change our behavior?
Talking about it. I think we keep silent about a lot of bullshit that happens and I think our similarities are bigger than our differences, and our experiences are relatable.
When it comes to wine, what benefits do you think we’ll see as a community by better supporting women?
I think we can all agree that there is disparity in most areas. I'm talking demographics. A lot of male dominated fields exist. We can inspire those other fields to change their demographics by changing ours. It can be about whose in charge. It's not just about us. It should be about everyone.
What change do you hope to see in regards to women in the wine industry in the next five years?
Obviously more [women], but I hope that we come to a point where, I mean this respectfully, we shouldn't have to have these conversations. I want there to be one industry as a united whole, rather than a lot of men and six women.
What message do you have for women entering the wine profession?
I think confidence is key. It’s really important, especially when you feel like a minority and that's obtained by educating yourself. Wine is cerebral so it's great to have the opportunities, and take as many of those opportunities as you can so you feel like the best version of yourself and that can be translated into your field.
What ways would you say you are contributing to the overall empowerment of current and future women in wine?
I realized very early on that my job, not only in the wine industry but in general, is to inspire people and that's achieved by teaching. I don't want to keep all of this knowledge to myself. I think passing it on is really cool and really rewarding.
What are some defining characteristics of a wonder woman of wine to you?
Confidence. Someone who’s inspirational. And someone who stands up for her beliefs even if they’re unpopular.
What women of wine do you admire and why?
My mom is the biggest one. She’s a beast. In this arena, I think that June Rodil and what she’s doing is pretty great. She’s kind of our token wine woman.
Rae Wilson is really cool. Dilek Caner. She has a school in Dallas. She self-studied and did everything alone. That really inspired me.