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You can learn a lot about wine by reading. Read Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast, in print or online. There are hundreds of wine blogs though many seem to be disappearing.

You can visit wine country – any region and talk to tasting room people or even winemakers and you’ll learn about wine. Better yet, try lots of wines and you’ll learn about them and google them while discovering your personal tastes.

I can’t say that Jill Ditimire was the driving force in getting me started on my wine journey. There were others with a bigger impact. What I can say about Indy-based wine enthusiast and arts reporter is she made wine cool. Now that’s no flippant or cutsie remark. Jill, intentionally or unintentionally, was a living embodiement of Robert Mondavi’s philosophy that wine should be served with your evening meal and served in every home.

She didn’t talk about wine or sell wine in geeky terms and wine gobbledegook. Sure, Jill could talk about wine with anyone. She had visited many of the wine world’s great regions and had significant knowledge. But her warmth and charming smile stripped wine sales of its pretentious snobbery. You didn’t have to feel like a walking and talking wine encyclopedia to understand Jill or buy wine from her Indy Mass. Ave. shop.

I met Jill when she was a teenager. She was bright and engaging, smart and driven. She broadened her career into television and then covering the arts in Indianapolis. We often toss around the term “Renaissance man” describing someone quite worldly and well-rounded.

We all lost a Renaissance woman this week in Jill Ditmire.