Paircraft / Sommeliers / Madeline Maldonado

Madeline Maldonado

Esquire 2020 Beverage Director of the Year, NYC

Madeline Maldonado, known as Maddy, was born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey. Guided by her parents’ passion for entertaining and hospitality, she caught the wine bug while catering for a private wine collector who introduced her to the nuances of tasting wine. This led to a passion for reading, tasting, and researching wine.

After earning her sommelier certification at The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, she launched into her first wine job at Tinto Fino with a specialty in wines from Spain. This was followed by her time as the Wine Director at Lela Wine bar and a loop around to retail at Vestry Wines, a high-end boutique outlet where Maddy was the assistant to the wine buyer. At Vestry Wines, she began building a strong customer base by hosting tastings and private events at the store’s tasting table. Add Bin 14 to the journey after Vestry closed from Hurricane Sandy. There, great relationships were forged across both sides of the bar—think Cheers meets wine bar!

Maddy decided it was time to get back to restaurants in 2015 and became manager and sommelier for Chef Jonathan Waxman’s Jams. From there, Eataly called, and she served as Beverage Director for a 400+ bottle wine list. Maddy continued her journey through beverage, wine, and hospitality as Beverage Director to the fine Italian restaurant da Toscano in New York’s West Village.

Maddy was featured in the New York Times article, “Black Wine Professionals Demand to Be Seen.” She was awarded Beverage Director of the Year in 2020 by Esquire Magazine.

What’s most interesting about PairCraft?

So many more factors go into pairing food and wine than tradition has led us to believe. This process encompasses thinking outside the box and leaving tradition or convention behind. It is also nice to have the time to thoroughly taste, compare, and contrast pairing options. In hospitality, we have a handful of minutes to taste a dish or a wine to pair for guests. When you have a detailed process such as PairCraft, you can engage in every nuance and detail of food and wine pairing, i.e the tannins were heightened with this wine, this wine pairs better with the chicken, this wine works with tomato, etc.

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