Where to buy aged wine

Where to Buy Aged Wine

Where to Buy Aged Wine: The Best Online Retailers & Auction Houses for Aged Wine

Ultimately finding the answer to this question is why I decided to write this Useful Wine Guide in the first place — there are some wonderful places to shop for aged wine that might not be obvious to someone just getting their feet wet with older wine.

Common places to buy older wine are: wineries, retailers, high-end restaurants, and auction houses. The most reliable, if you want to be certain of proper storage, are the wineries themselves, followed by wine retailers who are dedicated to long-term aging programs or who acquire aged wine directly from wineries, and lastly the auction houses and restaurants.

Library Wines from Wineries

Wine Tasting in a Barrel Room

Library wine, back vintages, and late release are terms wineries use to describe vintages available for purchase after they might normally be released. Some wineries hold back 1-2% of each wine they make for release later to their loyal customers as library wines (they also use these libraries to keep their vintage charts up to date).

Others, particularly in Bordeaux where there’s a culture of selling their wine as Futures, will hold back their entire release until it’s ready to drink. And still others release wine in regular tranches, often 10 years after their first release, or in the case of Dom Perignon P2 and P3 (P stands for Plenitude), when the Champagne has taken an evolutionary step forward in its aging process.

For aged American wine, sometimes you’ll find these library selections on wineries’ websites, and sometimes you’ll only hear about them in the tasting room, if you’re on their email list, or if you’re a wine club member (for wineries which offer wine clubs).

Aged Wine from Retailers

Wine on Shelves in a Store Photo by Javier Balseiro on Unsplash

There are different kinds of wine retailers and which ones are worth buying aged wine from requires a closer look.

For starters, I would not buy aged wine from just any old wine shop (or grocery store) because odds are good the conditions for storage/aging were not appropriate. How many wine stores have you been into that have big, bright picture windows streaming UV light into the store? Or wine stores that aren’t 55 degrees inside? Most of ‘em, right? Hopefully these places have proper storage in the back or the basement, but you really can’t be sure how a bottle you’re looking at was treated or how long it’s been on the shelf.

So which retailers should you buy aged wine from? Let’s start with the difference between aged wine and back vintages. While technically the same thing, there’s an important difference between the two.

Back vintages are wines that are not the current release. A retailer who has older wine in inventory may have purchased more than he was able to sell through before the new release came out. He may keep these back vintages indefinitely until they sell out (a great opportunity for you to try older wine!), but I wouldn’t expect to see something more than 5 years old kicking around.

Shop my trusted selection of back vintages or aged wine by region and grape from online retailers. Here is a preview:

Ink Grade Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon / Sold by: Wine.com
#96 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2023 The Ink Grade Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon opens with a nose of fresh cassis, pomegranate, and cocoa with elements of thyme, mint, candied orange peels, nutmeg, cloves, and paprika. The palate is linear throughout with a consistent midpalate of bright and lifted acidity and well-integrated raw mountain tannins that close in a persistent finish. So much pine needle, flowers, currants and ripe plums on the nose. Medium-bodied with fine and polished tannins. Linear and very tight with a clarity and energy. Vivid is the word. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification. Drink or hold. This classic style of Cabernet shows great balance, a snug structure and complex flavors that range from black cherry to black olive to sage and cedar. Moderate tannins and good acidity add to a slightly grippy and appetizing texture. Best 2025-2030. Expressive, with bramble and black licorice notes leading off, followed quickly by fresh black cherry and currant preserves. Features flashes of bay leaf and mesquite on the sleek finish, with a strong mineral underpinning as well. Drink now through 2035.

Ink Grade Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


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Fog & Light Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon / Sold by: Wine.com
Fog & Light Cabernet is as tantalizing as its name. Aromas of blackberry, elderberry and plum meet dense ripe black fruit flavors with hints of tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied and structured, the integrated tannins lead into a smooth and savory finish. This wine can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a special occasion. Silky and elegant with a ripe vanilla-boysenberry presence. Thanks to its fresh acidity, this bold red is admirably food friendly.

Fog & Light Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon


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Emblem by Michael Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon / Sold by: Wine.com
Brilliant ruby in color with hints of purple. Aromas of concentrated plum, blackberry, and anise. On the palate it is fruity and firm with flavors of cassis, huckleberry, plum, coffee bean and toasty oak. 

Emblem by Michael Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


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Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru 2020

Variety: not specified / Sold by: Wine.com
Chablis achieves its highly distinctive mineral character due to its cool northerly climate and its highly calcareous soil. The Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru is robust and powerful, vinified in the style of C“te de Beaune with some oak aging. A combination of fruit from the two sides of the Valmur valley, there is a lot of wine in this wine. It is engaging, sophisticated and has good heft with equally solid refreshment. Tasting of nectarines and pear core with a touch of earthiness, there's a gentle, dry tug on the lingering finish. This will certainly compensate the patient wine lover. The 2020 Chablis Valmur Grand Cru has a spicier bouquet compared to its peers, well-defined with a subtle estuarine influence, just a faint oyster shell and seaweed tang in the background. The palate is well balanced with fine acidity, cohesive and poised, not powerful but it has a reassuring sense of purity towards the finish. Very fine. Tasted blind at the BIVB tasting in Chablis.

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru


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Chateau Saint-Cyrgues Costieres de Nimes Rouge 2019

Variety: not specified / Sold by: Wine.com
Medium to medium plus bodied red with notes of dark fruit and herbs. Medium acidity, perfect to drink on it's own or pair with grilled meats.

Chateau Saint-Cyrgues Costieres de Nimes Rouge


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Chateau Guiraud Sauternes (375ML half-bottle) 2020

Variety: not specified / Sold by: Wine.com
The 2020 vintage is the fruit of Chateau Guiraud's expertise in offering a vintage that, despite the small quantity produced, is remarkably seductive. Upon tasting, you will immediately notice the fine tension and the purity that are the result of the extremely rigorous selection of the grapes during the harvest. The botrytis aromas are very fresh and somewhat spicy. The silky texture collides with notes of quince and fresh apricot to provide a conclusion of great refinement. Blend: 65% Semillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc Tightly structured and with its impressive balance between sweetness and a taut texture, this wine is obviously set for some considerable aging. The dry core of botrytis balances its density and its dark marmalade flavors. This wine has a great future. Barrel Sample: 95-97 The 2020 Guiraud is fabulous. Usually a more opulent wine, the 2020 impresses with its translucent personality. Orange confit, apricot preserves, chamomile and dried flowers all develop in the glass. I very much like the energy here. A classy, impressive wine. -Antonio Galloni Barrel Sample: 93-95 Apricots, honeysuckle, lemons, mango crumble, earl grey and vanilla beans on the nose. Pretty spice notes that keep going, married with fresh zesty undertones. Elegant, even somewhat understated, with a long and vibrant finish. Drink now.

Chateau Guiraud Sauternes (375ML half-bottle)


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Aged Wine Specialist Wine Stores

There are also retailers who specialize in aged wine — wine they either purchase at release with the intention of aging it themselves, or wine they acquire after release from a winery or other trusted source. These specialty merchants are usually the best non-winery option for acquiring aged wine (by my standard, anything more than 5 years old).

There are four online retailers I recommend for acquiring aged wine based on how they source their wine, how they store their wine, and the selection of wines they carry.

When you’re buying ageworthy (and pre-aged wine) wine online, there are some terms that are worth learning ahead of time. These terms typically apply when buying imported wine, though lately there’s been movement toward buying wine on futures in the US (mostly Napa).

Pre-Arrival. This means the already-bottled and released wine has not yet been imported into the US. Two of the online stores I’m about to discuss (Millesima and Westgarth) both have their unprecedented access to anything they want because they have long-standing European businesses and connections. Their US businesses are new and most of their inventory is either in storage in Europe or won’t be acquired from the winery until you purchase.

Futures (and En Primeur). This is wine that has not yet been bottled or released. It’s basically buying wine on spec that it will be good. Bordeaux does En Primeur, in which negociants and critics are invited to annual event to taste the wine while it’s still in barrel and weigh in on what kind of vintage it is going to turn out to be. This process also sets market prices for the wine, however the Chateaux don’t always listen to the market. For everywhere else, futures is speculative. If you have experience with a winery and you like what they do, the risk is less, but there’s always a risk you won’t like the wine you’ve bought in any given new vintage.

Wine Access — The Insider’s Wine Store

Wine Access is a special kind of online wine store. They procure limited amounts of special and hard-to-find wines (in the US) and sell them as a limited time offer or until they sell through their inventory.

What’s really different about Wine Access is that their team writes all of their own tasting notes. The wine team includes a Master Sommelier, and Advanced Sommelier, and two experienced Somms with other bona fides.

This extra level of detail is super critical if you’re looking at purchasing aged wine. Relying on the tasting notes provided by the winemaker at the time of release is a gamble, but relying on professional tasting notes written when you’re going to buy and drink the wine is just plain smart.

Here’s a great example of how tasting notes can change over time using the 2015 Legacy Red Wine from Alexander Valley which you can purchase at Wine Access for $55 (retail is $100).

Wine Access Ad Banner
2015 Legacy Wines Red Wine Alexander Valley

2015 Legacy Wines Red Wine Alexander Valley

Buy it for $55   $100

Winemaker Graham Weerts’ original tasting notes when the wine was released:
“The 2015 Red Wine exhibits aromas of cassis, violet, fennel and mocha flood from the glass alongside a faint hint of bay leaf—a nod to the wine’s mountain provenance. Black fruit, graphite and forest botanicals cascade through a powerful textural presence held aloft by chewy tannins. Extraordinarily layered and complex, the 2015 Legacy will reward patience and will age easily for two decades.”

Wine Access tasting notes in 2024:
“Dark ruby center, with tones of garnet toward the rim. Aromas of black and red currants, with smashed blackberry, black plum, and dried blueberry. The palate is nuanced and subtle, exuding polished, supple tannins with tones of dark chocolate, tobacco, and upturned organic earth. The structure is pure silk, showcasing a velvety richness and fine integration of its components. This offers so much pure pleasure at its price point. Drink now–2035.”

What changed?

Another reason to consider making your aged wine purchases with Wine Access is that they go the extra mile. Not long ago they offered an aged Barolo. After their assessment of the wine, and the condition of its corks, they sent out a free Ah-So cork puller with every purchase to make sure their customers fully enjoyed the whole wine experience.

Wine Access & En Primeur

Wine Access has entered the En Primeur game. They soft launched the service to their members in 2023, which was met with wild success, so they invested in building out a top class end-to-end experience. “Our members consistently rave about Wine Access delivering the best customer service in the space and trust is key when people are buying futures,” says CMO AJ Resnick. “So expanding into En Primeur to get our members even better pricing was a no-brainer for us—especially since every wine we source is already direct from the winery.”

If you’re already a Wine Access customer this fits right into your current buying habits. If you’re interested in En Primeur, it’s just one more reason to check out Wine Access.

Browse the Wine Access inventory of aged wines or their current Bordeaux selection.

Millesima — The Fine French Wine Superstore

Particularly for Bordeaux and Champagne, I recommend Millesima — a négociant headquartered in Bordeaux who carries a massive inventory of wine.

I spoke with Michael Peltier, Senior Fine Wine Specialist at Millesima, who told me they purchase everything as Futures or when it’s released directly from the winery and immediately transport it to le chais, their storage facility in Bordeaux. There, in perfect conditions, they age their inventory until someone orders it. These wines are sold as “Pre Arrival” because they don’t ship them to the US until someone has ordered them.

The selection of back vintages at Millesima is a bit mind-boggling, with significant Bordeaux inventory back to 1995 (and sparse inventory further back than that, too). With a site like Millesima, you can explore how wine ages on your own by purchasing a vertical from one particular Château.

The reference for Grands Crus

Another reason to choose Millesima when exploring aged wine is they have one of the largest collections of large-format Bordeaux & Champagne in the world. In Part I of this guide, I pointed out that large-format wine bottles (those larger than 750 mL) are better suited to longer aging of wines. According to Peltier, the best format for very long aging of wine is 3L bottles, commonly called a Double Magnum and also known as a Jeroboam.

Unsurprisingly, when you’re doing everything right in a couple of areas, you scale your operation. In addition to supplying you with Champagne and Red Bordeaux wines, Millesima also carries an excellent selection of fine Burgundy, Rhone, Italian, and American wines.

Browse Millesima’s selection of carefully-aged Bordeaux and Champagne.

Westgarth Wines Shop Westgarth Wines

Westgarth Wines

Like Millesima, Westgarth has a mindblowingly large selection of collectible wine to sell. Unlike Millesima, most of the wine isn’t in inventory — which means none of it is available to ship today. Much of the wine is sold Pre-Arrival, meaning before it arrives in the US, and some is sold En Primeur, as a "future" where the wine hasn’t yet been bottled.

Pros of buying at Westgarth: This is the only place you can buy most of these wines in the US. They have access to a mindblowingly large selection of pre-aged vintage wines — no need to cellar them yourself if you want them for an occasion. Professionals are on hand to help you select the right wine for your needs. Provenance is guaranteed, however not the quality of each bottle.

Cons of buying at Westgarth: All wine is sold in original winery packaging (especially Original Wooden Case [OWC]) which generally means you must buy at least 6 bottles of a wine. All sales are final. Tariffs are not included in the price.

Aged Cabernet / 3-Month Wine Club Gift ~$235 per shipment

The California Wine Club

While The California Wine Club is perhaps best known for their two-bottle wine of the month club featuring affordable selections from small family wineries in California, they also offer a unique wine club featuring Aged Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you want a low-effort way to get started with aged wine quickly, I recommend joining this wine club. They offer premium Cabernet Sauvignon aged 7-12 years, primarily from Napa Valley, but some Sonoma sneaks in there from time to time.

Membership benefits include: Access to a Personal Wine Consultant; Discounts when you reorder your favorite wines; A "Love It" 100% Guarantee; VIP Touring and Tasting invitation at any of the artisan wineries we feature.

Aged Wine from Auction Houses

& Others Who Source from Third Parties

Last on my list of places to acquire aged wine are auction houses and other organizations who acquire aged wine from private third parties. There are always exceptions to every rule, but the biggest issue with these groups is with verification of provenance. Unlike a painting whose condition is clear before you buy it, the condition of an aged wine is not. Auction houses have been guilty of selling counterfeit wine, too (not intentionally, but it still happens). Some places have trusted sources and stand behind the wine you purchase. Others do not.

If you’re willing to risk third-party purchasing in the US, I recommend buying your aged wine here.


WineBid is a Seattle-based company with locations in Napa and Hong Kong. Auctioning wine online since 1996, WineBid offers an online wine auction platform lets collectors place bids, buy instantly or sell their wine. They also have their own import subsidiary, Peloton Imports, to offer wines directly from Europe.

WineBid doesn’t require people to buy or sell full cases and they hold 52 auctions a year with thousands of new bottles added each week. They have two sommeliers on staff and an expert tasting team. They inspect and place every bottle by hand in our temperature-controlled warehouses.

Learn more about WineBid on their website.

Benchmark Wine Group

Benchmark Wine Group (BWG) is a Napa-based company that sources and stores aged wine for its clientele. They are very serious about provenance, and they have an inside track on a lot of aged Napa wine.

Much of the wine that they carry was purchased directly from the winery and transferred in climate-controlled conditions to BWG’s cellar for permanent storage. Their customers who wish to sell their wine at a profit can sell it through BWG’s website. From what I’ve researched, I would consider these sales as safe as buying directly from the winery, but I am not guaranteeing anything personally, though BWG guarantees the provenance of the wine they sell. Like Millesima, they also offer Pre-Arrival sales for wines from Europe.

Learn more about the extensive operations at BWG on their website.


Vinfolio — on the surface — looks very much like BWG. They offer the same type of winery-to-cellar-to-sale service that BWG does. I imagine that there are some differences between the two services, but again, they guarantee the provenance of every wine they sell, so your risk is mitigated.

Learn more about Vinfolio on their website.

Jessyca Frederick

Guide by: Jessyca Frederick

Inspired by frequent questions from friends and family about different wines and wine practices, I write Useful Wine Guides so that people I don’t know might benefit from my knowledge and desire to share information, too.