Library wines are portions of vintages held back by wineries to be re-released years after their debut. They’re named as such because wineries refer to the section of their caves where they store their private stock—usually a few cases or more from each vintage as libraries. Wineries are holding back more stock for this purpose and, increasingly, opening up their libraries to the public. How and why they do this, and how you can access a bottle or two, varies greatly by producer. Many local wineries are now conducting special library tastings as a part of their regular tastings on certain days and times while others may hold special events for wine club members to taste through library wines. Sometimes you can enjoy these library offerings paired with cheeses and chocolates for elevated tasting experiences.
Why Buy Library Wines?
There are several reasons why wine lovers seek library wines:
•The wines have generally reached peak maturity, are age-worthy, and were exceptional vintages.
•Many collectors stock up on favorites they may have originally missed.
•Most wineries hold back slow-aging, large-format bottles (magnums and up), which are popular as wine-cellar trophies and gifts.
•People often seek vintages for milestone celebrations, and many wineries accommodate those requests.
Late Releases Versus Library Wines
Library wines are different from “late releases,” which is the term for when wineries hold back all inventory until the wine is aged and ready to drink, rather than selling futures.