When Madeline Triffon passed the Master Sommelier examination in 1987, she became one of only two female Master Sommeliers in the world at the time, and the eighth American to have passed the test. Today, she is one of 105 American Master Sommeliers, of which 15 are women, and one of only 170 professionals worldwide to have earned the credential. Triffon has served as chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers and presently sits on the its board and is its scholarship chair.
Triffon’s career began immediately upon graduation from the University of Michigan in 1977 when she was hired as a wine steward by the Westin Corporation to open their French restaurant in Detroit. "I got the position thanks in no small part to a good French accent," Triffon confesses. She purchased Hugh Johnson's World Atlas of Wine and began to educate herself as a sommelier.
Triffon was hired in 1985 as wine steward at the prestigious London Chop House in Detroit. On return from her extraordinary accomplishment, the newly titled master sommelier joined renowned chef Jimmy Schmidt as wine director for his restaurants in 1988. In 1995, Triffon joined the Unique Restaurant Corporation in Detroit, as director of wine.
In 1999, Wine Spectator awarded three URC wine lists its Award of Excellence. The same year, Santé magazine named Triffon their Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year. Restaurant Hospitality awarded Triffon their Vanguard Award in 2002 for industry leadership and vision.
Today, she continues as wine director for the group, responsible for development of all wine lists and beverage programs for the company’s(now known as the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group)venues – Duet, Northern Lakes Seafood Company, Tavern on 13, Shiraz, Coach Insignia, and No.VI Chophouse & Lobster Bar, where she also presides as master sommelier. In addition, she coordinates food and wine events and serves as corporate wine educator.