TOBIN SHARP FROM HI-TIME WINE CELLARS
Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a family-owned retail store located in Costa Mesa, California. Founded by Fritz Hanson and his brother-in-law Jim McVay. Hi-Time opened its cellar doors in 1957 at its original location on 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California. In 1984, the Hanson brothers moved to our 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 foot underground temperature-controlled cellar now includes a selection of 10,000+ wines from many different wineries from all around the world. 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, Eastern Europe, South Africa, South America 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 discover hard-to-find spirits, espcially in the Bourbon and Scotch aisles, 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 1,200 different beers from 25+ different countries. Our walk-in tobacco humidor holds over 500 different cigar brands and sizes as well as a great selection of pipes and fine pipe tobaccos. We also offer gourmet foods, specialty chocolates, cheeses and charcuterie.
We are proud to 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.
Fritz Hanson and Jim McVay founded the store in 1957. Jim, unfortunately, passed away many years ago. Shortly after opening the store, Fritz's younger brother Chuck Hanson joined the Hi-Time team. Chuck was 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 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.
Our original location (pictured on the left)! 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. 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! The groundbreaking ceremony for our building expansion (the new beer area and shipping) was 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 ago Patterson's Beverage Journal honored the Hanson family for Hi-time Wine Cellars with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
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 is still here! Well, at least for a couple days a week he helps keep an eye on the wine department along with keeping up on the latest wines. He knows just about everyone in the California wine industry. Harold has also retired but still stops by a few times a week to check up on things. Today the store is managed by Fritz's oldest daughter Diana Hirst. Both his sons Keith (spirits buyer) and Donnie (clerk) work alongside Diana making Hi-Time the thriving business it is today. Fritz's other daughter Linda is working as an assistant winemaker for Hanzel Winery. Four of Fritz's grandchildren Charlie, Kyle, Jordan and Skylar are working in the store as the 3rd generation of the Hanson family legacy.
FRED SCHERRER – SCHERRER WINERY
In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course). This led to a UC Davis degree as well as concurrent work at a local winery doing the dirtiest and most menial jobs imaginable. In the mid-1980’s good friends at Duxoup Wine Works (think Marx Brothers for the pronunciation) inspired me to try my hand at my own label so I negotiated cellar space in lieu of a raise by my then-current employer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley (I got a raise anyway). Greenwood Ridge was supportive of my project and decided to have some Scherrer Zinfandel produced for their label as well. Unfortunately, I had a poor business plan and during the first year I realized I was not yet ready for this project. Greenwood Ridge continues to make a small amount of Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel to this day.
Enter Dehlinger Winery in the late 1980’s. Tom Dehlinger was very supportive of my long-term plans and challenged me to develop a solid business plan, facilitating an important entry into my own project. In return, his winery received my heart and soul for a decade. The final key element in our getting started was from my parents. They allowed me to delay paying them for their fine grapes until we began getting cash flow from our wine sales. By 1997, we were ready to make the move to a facility of our own. In anticipation of this, we were able to add Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to supplement the Zinfandel we were producing, all from my father’s vineyard in Alexander Valley. Tom Dehlinger supported this transition of my focus, allowing me to produce these additional wines in his facility and we parted very amicably after that vintage.
And so after the harvest of 1997, I moved our operation to a corner of an apple packing shed-turned-winery, finally leasing the entire building. During this period, our production grew from just the three varietals from Scherrer Vineyard, to now typically a dozen wines, about half of which are Pinot Noir. Total production is now 4000 to 5000 cases. My good friend, Don Bliss helped me whenever I needed a hand (or a finger to dial 911 in the unlikely event of a forklift mistake) throughout this period until he sold his fine vineyard and moved back to his native Texas in 2006. Since then, I have been able to impose on a handful of friends and local customers when I have needed help, but still continue to work at the winery pretty much alone most of the year. Judi, my wife, has handled administrative and compliance for the winery since 2002, keeping me out of trouble with bureaucrats and making sure we are able to conform with the complex and changing world of direct shipping and wholesaling laws, reports and fees.
CHRISTIAN ROGUENANT – WINEMAKER, TRUE MYTH
ABOUT CHRISTIAN ROGUENANT:
Christian Roguenant was born to make wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France, he grew up surrounded by vineyards. Christian decided early on to become a winemaker, studying enology and winemaking at the University of Dijon. There, he honed his skills early and has since made wine in numerous countries across five continents. The opportunity to make exceptional wines in San Luis Obispo County led him to the Central Coast. He is a Chardonnay master with over 30 vintages under his belt and has been with the Niven Family for over 18 years. When Christian is not crafting our beautiful True Myth wines, he is an avid chef, photographer, and guitar player.
ABOUT THE NIVEN FAMILY ESTATES:
In our location on California’s Central Coast, we are eternally awestruck by the magic of her omnipresent influence; from the dry heat of the vineyards in Paso Robles, to the coastal influence on our vineyards in Edna Valley, our grapes are grown just a few miles from one of her greatest creations, the deep, blue Pacific Ocean. We respect Mother Nature for the enigma that she is, and honor her by creating wines of quality and flavor that mirror her splendor. Join us as we continue on this journey. Taste and Believe.
Jack Niven came to San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s with the vision to plant a vineyard in what was then a valley of dairy farms and garbanzo beans. After working with the top viticulture professors from UC Davis and Fresno State, he determined the perfect location and planted the Paragon Vineyard in 1973. Home to the oldest continually producing Chardonnay vines in the region, the Niven family has owned and farmed this vineyard for more than 40 years. Jack later went on to petition to establish Edna Valley as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982.
The second and third generations of the Niven family have since continued his legacy. Today their portfolio focuses on exploring the endless potential and diversity in their historic Paragon Vineyard and throughout San Luis Obispo County.
True Myth is a new take on the legacy that was built by Jack Niven. The family is now striving to create a fresh new vision for the longstanding quality of the region.
ABOUT TRUE MYTH
TRUE MYTH INVITES INTRIGUE AND EMBRACES A LIFE LESS ORDINARY
From Edna Valley’s pioneering Niven family comes a new take on their legacy. They’ve been here since day one - living, breathing, and farming their historic Paragon Vineyard since 1973. Taking advantage of Mother Nature’s gift of rich and fertile soils on the Central Coast of California, our wines seek to delight and inspire, while maintaining the exceptional quality of which the Niven Family has been known for the last 40 years. True Myth presents an authentic experience, which only Mother Nature can express: one of depth, wonder, and a little bit of magic. Taste and Believe.
Over 30 years ago, an incredibly smart and spirited woman planted a 3 acre vineyard on her home property in the Edna Valley. Diving without hesitation into a male-dominated industry, Catharine Niven later set out to create authentic, complex yet elegant wines. Named for the place she met her husband Jack, Baileyana offers beautiful, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Both are refined, rich, and perfectly balanced. She wasn’t entirely surprised by Baileyana’s early success, but Catharine didn’t dream that her small project would become the family legacy that it is today. Now in the expert hands of the next two generations, Baileyana wines remain true to her pioneering spirit, as well as to the genuine, elegant style she exuded when walking into any room. Boldly Beautiful.