Lainie Petersen and Chip Dudley are two Chicagoans who love wine. Curiously, they decided, independently of each other to start blogging about wine. Chip thought he might like to have a blogging-buddy, so he asked Lainie (already a wine-buddy) if she’d join him. She readily agreed and the blog/podcast was launched!
Chip is a Southerner by birth, hailing from Athens, Ga, but has essentially become a Chicagoan since moving there in 1995. Wine was something he never considered developing an interest in, until he visited the old Wine Chalet at Clark and Belmont in the late 1990s. There, some lost to history hero, introduced Chip to his first bottle of Bordeaux, cheap Bordeaux, but Bordeaux nonetheless. From that point on, Chip began to develop an interest in wine and the culture surrounding wine. From French wine, he went to California, from California to Australia, and eventually developed a pan-global interest that persists to this day.
In 2009, Chip, due to various circumstances, had the opportunity to buy a wine bar in Chicago, which after many grueling months, became a reality on April 1, 2010. The rest is history. 694 Wine and Spirits became a much-beloved, neighborhood mainstay for the better part of 7 years and only closed due to economic issues largely beyond his control.
Since then, Chip has pursued his passion for wine and food by making a close study of all things viticulture and the cookery that rightly follows. This blog is an expression of his passion. He humbly hopes that it will serve to inspire a couple of people to follow suit.
Lainie started getting into wine in the early 2000s and was a customer of Juicy Wine Co., the bar that Chip bought in 2010 and eventually renamed 694 Wine & Spirits. She had a brief stint writing an American wine review column for a private club’s newsletter, though that didn’t last terribly long. She did eventually start a successful tea review blog, Lainie Sips, in 2008, which she ran for several years.
Eventually, Lainie moved into different kinds of media: In 2013, Lainie became a co-host for Talk Gnosis, a YouTube show about religion and mysticism. From there, she went on to co-host Magick Radio Chicago, on a local community radio station, and then moved on to Hard Lens Media, starting out as a co-host on the company’s local radio show and eventually becoming the anchor of her own show, Civically Minded. She is also the theater correspondent for Playtime with Bill Turck & Kerri Kendall, a radio show that focuses on the arts. She often includes wine reviews and recommendations with her theater reports.
Lainie holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Women’s Studies from Illinois State University, along with master’s degrees in Divinity and Theological Studies, respectively, from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and another master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University. Her life is one long exercise in freelancing: She’s a freelance writer and content producer as well as a freelance “have prayerbook, will travel” clergyperson. She has two cats and adores white wines from Italy.
What’s With the Blog’s Name?
When Lainie was considering starting a wine blog (mid-pandemic) she asked her Facebook friends for title suggestions. One friend suggested “No Chalice Required” as a nod to the fact that Lainie is ordained clergy. She immediately purchased the domain name where it languished for a while. When Chip approached her about a blogging project, she pitched the already-purchased domain to him, and he thought it sounded just fine.
Fun fact: The friend who suggested the name was also a customer of 694 Wine & Spirits. In fact, it was at the bar that he met both Chip and Lainie!