Wine Talk from Bin 36's Brian Duncan

Brian Duncan and Bin 36 have been acknowledged often by the wine and restaurant industry for expertise in their field. He’s been titled Gourmet’s Chicago Wine Director of the Year and is a James Beard nominee; the restaurant is winner of the Best Wine Pairing System by Wine & Spirits Magazine, and recipient of the Award of Unique Distinction from Wine Enthusiast. Yet despite the accolades in a profession known for its exclusivity, he’s managed to develop for Bin 36 a reputation of a comfortable and welcoming approach to wine.

Duncan is also a winemaker, and at a tasting of some of the 2006 and 2007 Bin 36 wines his enthusiasm was palpable. In fact, he was so entertaining it seems to me the best way to capture it is to let you “hear” him.


On making wine:

“I think of myself as more of a wine chef than a wine maker.”

“They ask me ‘where’s your vineyard, where’s your winery. But if I were a chef they wouldn’t ask me where’s your farm, where’s your cow.”


On the hospitality industry:

“I should not have to be a tailor to get my suit altered.”

“I don’t want to talk somebody into the wines.”

“I want to see wine at every table. At $100 a bottle I can’t do that.”

“We’re in the hospitality industry first. We’ve got no business making anybody feel uncomfortable.”


On Chicago:

“We’re not a great restaurant city because (just) one of us is good.”

the reason Chicago is unlike any other city.” (after pointing out
several other restaurateurs and the sense of community they share)


On wine & wine tasting:

“Approach food and wine like a kid who’s had cotton candy for the first time and the top of his head is about to blow off.”

“I don’t care if it’s from Mars or Timbuktu as long as it tastes good.”


And my favorite quote of the night:

“If somebody’s making you feel bad about a wine that you like, tell ’em to getcha hell outta yo face.”










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