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Interview with Sam Ehrlich | Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group

Interview with Sam Ehrlich | Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group

Sam Ehrlich Talks About Blue Ribbon, Living in Beaune and Great Wine Lists

Blue Ribbon Downing Street bar is located right across the street from Blue Ribbon Bakery. So naturally I went to the wrong place for the interview. I let the hip bartender know that I was there to see Sam Ehrlich.  Parched from walking from the World Trade Center, I ordered a cold draft beer from the bar. The bartender let me know that Sam would be a few minutes and that the Downing Street Bar was actually across the street.  Secret:  I suck at maps.  I saw a bar in Blue Ribbon Bakery so naturally I thought I was in the right place.  Not!  Bartender:  “Sam said to relax and enjoy your beer and head on over across the street when you are ready to talk with him.”  Hospitality starts here.  Blue Ribbon knows hospitality.  Plus Sam comped my beer and I generously tipped my bar tender.


Sam Ehrlich, Wine Buyer, Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group

Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar is a small, intimate bar, appointed in lush wood tones, a wonderful wine list and a well stocked bar. Its the kind of place you can easily make your neighborhood-bar. Elegant but not stuffy, hip and comfortable with nuances of nostalgia.

“This intimate bar pours a selection of wines, sakes, cordials and cognacs that span the globe. The kitchen offers small plates designed to enhance the sumptuous drinking experience such as bacon flatbread, artisanal cheese plate with Blue Ribbon’s own Autumn Honey, New Orleans Shrimp and smoked meats and fish. The extensive wine and cocktail menu draws on both new and Old World selections, in addition to historic influences.” ~ Blue Ribbon

Sam Ehrlich has a boyish grin, a child like fascination with wine & spirits and a things that are French. He spent two years in Beaune, going to school, learning viticulture, plowing the fields by horse and hand, pruning, racking and bottling, and building dry stone walls in vineyards.  Sam echoes a common theme I’ve noticed in my interviews with the restaurant and wine world’s elite. Book knowledge is great but getting your hands dirty, farming, seeing first-hand how wine is made, spending time with vintners, vineyard owners and négociants is a life altering experience.

“Put your hands in the air….Step away from the tasting bar.” Said the Wine Police.  Go learn, go see, first-hand how its done by people who have mastered their craft.  I promise…it will forever change your life.


Marc Weisberg is a photographer, educator, chef, former wine buyer, cellar master; and lover of wine. Marc owns and operates a successful Southern California based photography studio, founded in 2001, and is the founder of Wine Photo Workshops. His work is widely published and sought out by luxury brands. Wine Photo Workshops are for photographer-wine-adventurers and image makers. We’ll visit and explore wineries and food destinations throughout the world. Visit with Sommeliers, wine makers, vineyard owners and restauranteurs, with special behind the scenes access. You’ll have the opportunity to learn, make new friends, have fun and raise the bar on your photography skills. Contact Marc by phone 949.494.5084, or email.

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