Hello! My name is Mary Kate and I am thrilled to be launching the Afianes Wine blog! I am a sommelier and a writer, and I am so excited to explore the convergence of my two greatest passions here on the Afianes blog. I am originally from the United States, but have also lived around the world in such amazing locations as Spain, Thailand, France, Portugal, and very soon… Ikaria, Greece!

I have studied and worked in the wine sector for the past five years, and it is an incredibly nuanced and exciting world. I find myself most at home in the crevices of this industry, in the blurred and beautiful intersections of wine with other aspects of our lives. What interests me most is the crossroads of culture, the messy and marvelous meetings between creative forces that jumble into inspirational chaos. In particular, I love to examine the wine world through the lens of literature, to witness how they enliven and invigorate the other, and to feel more deeply my own appreciation and esteem for them.

All my life I have been a lover of stories. Literature has always appeared to me almost god-like in its ability to create worlds, bounding into lands unknown and entreating me to follow. I’ve always relished the way that words seemed to cast their nets around me, wrapping me within their realities and inviting me into the cozy residence of another person’s mind. To be ushered into the inner realm of another feels to me like wandering onto hallowed land, their moving thoughts like moonlight guiding me deeper into some great mystery.

Holy are the hands of writers who bless the world with their words, divine designations of feeling that have always pierced me straight through the heart. A book is a vortex to the infinite, a trap door that drops me straight into the middle of a glittering new universe. Each sentence a star, each word a bright meteor striking right into the core of me, both wrenching me open and lighting me up.

A glass of delicious Afianes wine and poetry by Jack Gilbert, another American enamored by Greece.

So, what does this have to do with the world of wine? I fell in love with wine because I fell in love with stories, and wine is, essentially, a story. At its core, it is a basic tale of transformation, from sweet hanging fruit to a seemingly magical elixir that has sustained the human race for millennia. Each bottle holds its own memories: imprints from the harvest year encapsulated within its glass, remnants of its land that linger longingly. A vestige and a testament of its very own metamorphosis. If we are keen enough to listen, wine tells us a story as riveting as any storybook, and invites us in just as warmly. It is a visceral sort of storytelling that travels through the body, absorbing and engaging, enthralling and maddening us, bringing color to our cheeks and joy to our lives.

Both literature and wine respond to a call that echoes within me. Word by word, sip by sip, they seep into some aching depth and give voice to a feeling I did not previously know how to name. They are two forms of the same intoxication, the dizzying of the senses, the titillating of the mind. They are the designs of an entirely human creativity, the conscious endeavor to extend ourselves outwards into the world in an attempt to both process and celebrate it.

I see my place in the wine world as not really one at all, but merely the hazy horizon that lies between two seemingly different things. The converging of creative winds, the overlapping shadows of two shifting landscapes. It is in complexity where I find myself most invigorated, and I am grateful to hold this space on the Afianes webpage to continue exploring these intersections even deeper.