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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 Store Our 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!


The Hanson Family Awarded Patterson's Beverage Journal Lifetime Achievement AwardA 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 AnniversaryJust a couple 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