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About Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars is a family-owned retail store located in Costa Mesa, California. Founded by Fritz Hanson and his brother-in-law Jimm McVay. Hi-Time opened its cellar doors in 1957  at its original location on 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California.

Shortly after opening the store, Fritz's younger brother Chuck Hanson joined the Hi-Time team. Chuck became interested in wine right away and became the store's primary wine buyer. Most of the business at that time consisted of distilled spirits and jug wines. Chuck remembers that the first wines to make a big impression on him were those of Charles Krug and Louis Martini.

Harold Hanson, who was in the military overseas at the time, joined Hi-Time after completing his tour of duty. While in the service in Europe, Harold took pictures of wine caves in Burgundy. Bringing the photos back to his brothers, it was decided that they would build a wine cave within the store. Harold became the General Manger for the store, a position he held for over 40 years.

In 1984, the Hanson brothers moved to their present location in Costa Mesa where they built one of the largest underground temperature-controlled wine cellars in the U.S .

This 3,000 square feet underground temperature-controlled cellar now includes a selection of 10,000+ wines from many different wineries and vintages. This selection represents the world's finest growing regions from such diverse areas as California, Oregon, Washington, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and Portugal.

The recently re-designed store now has a retail space of 24,000 square feet. We added many new and exotic labels to our selection. Along with our selection of rare wines you will also find hard-to-find spirits and exotic liquors from all over the world. In addition, we offer a comprehensive selection of North American micro-brews along with some of the best beers the rest of the world creates. Our walk-in beer refrigerator offers over 1,000 different beers from 25 different countries. Our walk-in tobacco humidor holds over 400 different cigar brands and sizes, including Davidoff, A. Fuentes, Cohiba , Ashton, Avo and Macanudo , as well as a great selection of pipes and fine pipe tobaccos.

We are proud that we have been able to serve our customers for over half of a century. Our goal is to provide our customers with one of the largest selections of fine wines and rare spirits from all over the world, at competitive prices and without sacrificing the quality of our customer service.

We are looking forward to serving you at our store location, over the phone or online. Thank you for your continued support of Hi-Time Wine Cellars where fine wines are handled with the care they deserve.

In 2005 The Hanson Family was rewarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from
Patterson's Beverage Journal

The Hanson Family Petterson's Beverage Journal Achievement Award
The Hanson Family

Chuck Hanson Fritz Hanson Harold Hanson
Chuck, Fritz and Harold Hanson

Store History

Fritz Hanson and Jim McVay founded the store in 1957. Chuck and Harold Hanson (Fritz's brothers) helped run the store for the last 50+ years. Jim, unfortunately, passed away many years ago. Fritz is semi-retired but we always need his help when there's construction to be done... or stocking the liquor shelves during the holidays! Chuck Hanson still here! Well, at least for a couple days a week he helps keep an eye on the wine department (watch those invoices!) and keeps up on the latest wines. Well, and he knows just about everyone in the California wine industry. Harold has also retired but still stop by a few times a week to check up on things.

Regarding the early days, Fritz recalls what a big deal it was the first time they sold a $5 bottle of Paul Masson Champagne. Memorable! In the early days, it seems most of their sales involved $.99 Thunderbird.

Hi-Time Wine Cellars Original StoreOur original location, complete with clock! Those were the days... the wine cellar and La Cave next door. La Cave is still there but we're up the street a bit. Well, tempus fugit, as they say. We still make local deliveries. We're guessing this is from the 1960s at some point due to the design of the van and the boats in the harbor. And we still deliver to various boaters stocking up for their trips to Catalina and beyond!

Hi-Time moved to our current location in 1984... prior to that, the building we're housed in was a telephone company. The underground wine cellar had to be dug out to provide a home for our wines! In the photo at left are a number of former and current staff members of Hi-Time. Former General Manager Harold Hanson is in the back right (ball cap on). We'll let you guess about the others... but two of them can still be found in the cellar!

Hi-Time Wine Cellars Ground BreeakingThe groundbreaking ceremony for our building expansion (the new beer area and shipping) in 2004. What's next? Who Knows! Stay Tuned!  ***Yes, more construction in the works... pardon our mess as we strive to make our store better! Facelift at 50? Why not!

A few years Patterson's Beverage Journal honored the Hanson family of Hi-time Wine Cellars with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In conjunction with our cover looking back over the benchmark wineries and wines that have filled our cellar, we thought this a good time to reprint the Patterson's photo.

Fritz and Ida Hanson's 50th Wedding AnniversaryA few years ago Fritz & Ida celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with family and friends. With the store celebrating its 50th this year, we thought this a perfect time for this picture: from left to right: Diana Hirst, Tracy Hanson, Ida Hanson, Keith Hanson, Fritz Hanson, Don Hanson, Lynda Hanson, Diego Smart.

Hi-Time Wine Cellars Staff