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About Us
John VerPlanck and Jennifer Laskey VerPlanck

We are  John VerPlanck and Jennifer Laskey VerPlanck, long-time wine enthusiasts, who think a wine shop should be fun, informative and not the least bit stuffy.

We know our wines, have visited many of the regions and wineries, and have been fortunate to taste some incredible wines with the winemakers; France, Italy and California are our favorite places to travel! Right here in Maine, there are great wines being made from grapes grown here, too! Getting to know the hardworking wine growers and their stories has been inspiring.The connections we make help us to deliver great wines and keep our stock fresh and exciting.



Maine is one place that doesn't lack micro- breweries! New Maine brew houses are opening up all the time. There are about 155 now. They are all unique; it's a joy to meet the brewers and to taste all their great beers.

We can also be happy that our beer distributors share their ever - expanding array of lovely domestic and imported lagers and ales that we can offer for sale in our store. Our selection of beer isn't the largest, we choose for quality and stock exceptional brews that you won't find at other stores. We rotate our brands weekly, to keep offering what is new and fresh as well as the old favorites that our customers want.



John VerPlanck is a retired airline pilot and U.S. Marine veteran.His career took him to numerous wine producing countries where he acquired an appreciation for regional wines and various types of beer which at the time were not readily available in the USA.

Education is an important aspect of our business; we enjoy sharing our knowledge about wine, interesting background on our wines and beers and we have been writing a wine/beer column for over five years for our local paper. John has experience teaching High School English as well as classroom Aircraft Navigation.  


John lived in California for 30 plus years. He remembers back to simpler times when flying into Rutherford was a dirt strip and sipping wine in the vineyard was an all day event ending with sleeping under the stars.

He owned and operated a wine and beer making supply store in Alaska and was a manager of a wine store before starting the Black Sheep Wine and Beer Shop here in Harpswell, Maine, with Jennifer in 2003. John and Jennifer were married in Paris, and had another ceremony for friends and family in Harpswell, right on the Cribstone Bridge.

 John has published two novels,  "Pacific Air 55 is Missing" and  the sequel, "  Tailwind  ".   Both novels have ties to the airline industry and involve intrigue: a mystery, a crime, six friends and a fast-paced international chase.  They're available in paperback through our store or by mail order for $14.98 each. John will sign your copy if you like. They're also for sale on Amazon in the Kindle format or for sale with a free app to read on your IPad or other device.  

Jennifer Laskey VerPlanck grew up on a salt water farm in Brunswick, Maine, the oldest daughter of seven children, where they grew vegetables, had laying hens and raised their own beef and dairy cows.Often, everything on their table was grown right on the farm.

Jennifer learned baking and cooking from her mother. This led to a career as a chef, pastry chef and chocolatier. Her appreciation for fresh food combined with her vocational culinary background helps in choosing appropriate food and wine pairings at our store. And of course the best chocolates!

Jennifer has been self- employed for most of her working life, learning about business and many other things from her father, who was a self- employed excavating contractor. She has been actively involved in promoting small businesses in Harpswell, co-founding The Harpswell Business Association.

Jennifer owned and operated a popular artisan chocolate and candy store in Harpswell, The Chocolate Deli, which ran for a number of years and has now evolved into our wine and beer store,The Black Sheep. She no longer makes the chocolates and candies but receives them made to order from local chocolatiers.


Jennifer's family has deep roots in Maine; her ancestors have been settled in this area since the early 1700's. We are proud to carry many Maine wines and Maine artisan beer as well as Maine made foods that we include in our gift baskets, some made right here in Harpswell.

We believe in and support our locally owned and operated farms, fisherman, food producers, wineries, breweries and enterprises;they're something to be proud of! We say,“Buy Local”; it's the best way to ensure your local economy is stable and that the products you want are available to you. 




The Black Sheep Wine and Beer Shop in the Press 

Black Sheep Wine and Beer Shop  is mentioned in the "48 hours in Brunswick and Harpswell" article by Managing Editor, Katy Kelleher, April, 2014 issue of Maine Magazine.

The Boston Globe,By The Glass, by Stephen Meuse 

The Forecaster- Brunswick Area news : Late Harvest Wine- The Black Sheep Wine Shop

(Note: We have posted these articles on our "More fun with wine,beer,food " page)

We are honored to be listed in several books about Maine, including:

The Food Lovers Guide to Maine , Best Local Markets, by Margaret Shane K. Hathaway.

The Explorers Guide to Maine (16th Edition) by Christina Tree and Nancy English.

We write a monthly wine column in The Cryer.The column is usually also posted on our blog: Black Sheep Wine and Beer Field Notes,

 Some other nice reviews writen about the Black Sheep Wine and Beer Store:

The Foodie Pilgrim  ,Boston.com "By the Glass"  

We support Maine green energy by buying all our electricity through 100% clean, Maine - made renewable resources.



Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health; consume with moderation. The legal drinking age to purchase and consume alcohol in Maine is 21.

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