Bicycles and wine may not seem like a natural fit, but it’s been a way of life for the past 20 years for Jen and Kevin Flock.
Jen’s been in the wine and food business for nearly 20 years. She wen to culinary school at Johnson & Wales and has been a pastry chef, line chef, bartender, hostess, server, caterer. Kevin raced bikes for 14 years and has worked at cycle shops – including Cyclemania and Back Bay locally, and Cannondale in Connecticut – since he was a kid.
A little over a year ago the Maine couple decided to combine their two passions by opening a shop in Cape Elizabeth.
Flock & Vine Bike & Beverage, located at 541 Ocean House Road, turned a year old on Memorial Day weekend, but some are still getting used to the combination of fine wine and bicycle repair.
“We get a lot of, ‘Wow, that’s unusual,'” Jen says.
“We started with wine for the first three months and then my husband started building the back corner.”
That’s where the bikes live but the cycling presence is obvious throughout the shop. Cycling art – some of Kevin during his competitive days – and memorabilia cover the walls, and one display has a small selection of cycling helmets positioned next to artistically labeled bottles of wine.
The Flocks clearly have a soft spot for the Tour de France with several “Intimate Portrait” photos holding prime spots above wine displays. There’s also room for a handful of cycling jerseys to claim some wall space in the beverage area.
Kevin’s area is in a second room at the back of the beverage shop and here the walls are covered with all things bikes: tires, tubes, spare parts, jerseys, handlebars, frames. On the day I visited there were six bikes waiting for Kevin’s attention.
“Being a one-person shop,” he says, “I can only work on so much.” He works with a distributor in Fryeburg when his customers bikes need parts.
Kevin also works as a maintenance person for Fore Street restaurant while Jen continues to do some catering. He rides every day – sometimes several times a day, according to Jen. She rides also, but mentions that her bikes hasn’t had a tuneup in two years.
“We still get more customers that come for the wine,” she says, “but his business is gaining momentum.”
Some of that comes from the wine tastings held at Flock & Vine every second and fourth Monday. Jen holds these year-round, offering a selection of wines to try from 5:30-7:30. She also offers shot seminars with blind tastings of eight or nine wines complete with a history of each.
“It’s a nice little community that we’ve built,” Jen says.
Folks who come for the wine can’t help but notice the bikes. When they start to explore the place and ask questions they realize that bikes and wine can – and do – make for a happy partnership.
Just the facts
What: Flock & Vine (Fine wine & beer, bicycle repair)
Where: 541 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth
Owners: Jen and Kevin Flock
Contact: www.flockandvine.com; www.facebook.com/FlockVine; @flockandvine; 207-799-8463