Hi-Times Cost Mesa, California – A Very Nice Wine Retailer – James Melendez

I have never written about a specific wine retailer and I should start to do this.

I rarely get to visit wine retailers as much as I use to–time or lack of time is the chief reason.  Also, I felt for so long I had to write about my local retailers first but I felt not a single reason to do so.  I have never really found any store in San Francisco with a deep SKU or category assortments.  I use to review wines and say where I purchased them and gave that up quickly (San Francisco retailers).  I gave up mentioning when I purchased a bottle as the retailer never gave a like, an RT, a thumbs up or a ‘Thank you.’  I do get samples and I do buy wines myself.  I am still a customer and thank yous today are ever more important.

San Francisco’s retail space for wine is small square footage and hence a wide or deep SKU offerings are limited.  But I do look at overall assortments and some retailers in San Francisco just have a funky or non-sensical assortment.  One particular wine retailer I visit which is close to me and has food under one roof and every time I ask for a region or variety–they never have it (and I’m not asking for anything obscure).

I do feel compelled to write a short article about Hi-Time Wine Cellar in Costa Mesa.  Founded in 1957 and has 24,000 square feet of retail space for wine, beer, spirits and allied products.   I love the expansiveness of assortment.  On my last visit I walk into the Champagne-sparkling wine room.   I found plenty of RM (Récoltant Manipulant) wines, larger format and a thoughtful of sparkling wines from around the world.   I am holding a bottle of lovely Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs NV jeroboam — which I wanted to buy immediately.  I need to celebrate something. Large format bottles make me weak in the knees–not because they are too heavy–they are just a remarkable statement of Champagne and the respectivce peroducer about large format bottles.

Selfie: Me and a Jeroboam of Pierre Peters

Hi-Times is candy store for adults–the vastness even from a visual perspective make’s one heart beat a little quicker.  I want local wines and I want wines from far away.  The wine availability was thoughtful and even unexpected as an example I found not one but two different Sinegal wines from Napa Valley–I have never seen that in a store in Northern California.  There was a very nice selection of French and Italian wines–lovely Port and Madeira selections.   I like the diagonal displays of wine – the design is perfect for viewing and a point of difference in terms of visual merchandising.

I found a dedicated wall of Eastern European wines–not just haphazardly stocked but nicely stocked and with nice details of the wines.  I found Cremisan from the West Bank which is nice to see in addition from wines from the region Turkey, Israel and Lebanon.

There are also plenty of coveted beyond the glass wines like Krug, Mouton Rotschild, Petrus and many more.  Of course retailers have Burgundy but may have a small share of Grand Cru.  I found everything all of the Grand Cru that I adore: Grands Échezeaux, Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot and so fourth


If you find yourself in Orange County pay a visit to Hi Time Wine Cellar–I always carry a Wine Mummy (padded travel wine sleeve) or other padding for transporting wine back. I did find a bottle of Turkish wines which I could not find here in SF Bay Area.  Finding help is easy as the staff is visiting all sections frequently.  The staff is very knowledgeable not just about the wine in stock but wine in general.   A very nice visit!



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
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