UnWINEd this Weekend: Experience the CT Wine Trail

courtesy of ctwine.com

courtesy of ctwine.com

Enjoy a glass (or two) of wine from time to time? Looking for a fun way to experience Connecticut with your special someone or friends this weekend? Summertime is THE TIME to check out the unique vineyards that comprise Connecticut’s Wine Trail.

Made up of 25 wineries offering everything from robust barrel aged reds to crisp, bright whites to local fruit-infused wines, the Connecticut Wine Trail is one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine regions in the United States. Whether you’re looking to start your trip in the Litchfield Hills, along the coastline, in the “Quiet Corner”, or along the Connecticut or Housatonic Rivers, you’re no more than a 45-minute drive from a vineyard. Visit a few and you’ll notice the unique flavors each geography has to offer and the stunning scenery it’s situated on.

But first, a brief history:

Connecticut’s early English colonists were avid wine drinkers, but viticulture – the science, production, and study of grapes – wasn’t successfully practiced until the nineteenth century. In 1978, commercial wineries were permitted in the state with the passing of the Connecticut Winery Act, and soon after wineries throughout the state began to cultivate and grow grapes on a large scale. In 1988, Sherman P. Haight of Haight-Brown Vineyards conceived of the Connecticut Wine Trail, which instantly gave greater prominence to this agricultural sector and increased wine and vineyard awareness.

Haight-Brown Vineyards courtesy of ctwine.com

Haight-Brown Vineyards courtesy of ctwine.com

Geographically, the wine trail route is split into two regions – the eastern and western trails – which wind through a series of historic towns and villages from Litchfield County to the Long Island Sound. The wineries along the trail grow everything from Chardonnay and Merlot to Riesling and Cabernet Franc – some even produce sparkling options and ciders.

Chamard Vineyard courtesy of ctwine.com

Chamard Vineyard courtesy of ctwine.com

In the mood for a little more than wine? Dine at Chamard Vineyard’s new restaurant, Farm Winery Bistro – one of Connecticut’s two wineries boasting a restaurant and recently voted “Best New Restaurant” in New Haven Living Magazine’s Reader’s Poll. Feeling adventurous? Join the folks at Dalice Elizabeth Winery for their standing Thursday night “Wine-a-roke” (5 – 8 pm) and a glass of their “Sizzle Merlot”, more commonly known as their Chocolate Chili Merlot. Just trust us on this one.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on around the state this weekend:

Thursday, July 31

From 5 – 7 pm, enjoy Saltwater Farm Vineyard’s Summer Music Series, with music this week by Zak Sheffer. Local oysters shucked by Dave the “Oyster Man” will be available. 349 Elm Street, Stonington, CT 06378.

Friday, August 1

Unwind on Friday evening at Priam Vineyard’s UnWINEd concert series (6 – 9 pm), where you can take in the sunset with live music, wine, and food. Purchase tickets at the winery or on their website. 11 Shailor Hill Road, Colchester, CT 06415.

Or pack your own picnic and head on over to Stonington Vineyards for their Summer Music Series – this week featuring Ian Kelly Jazz from 6 – 9 pm.  Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, and the show goes on rain or shine. 523 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, CT 06378.

Gouveia Vineyard courtesy of ctwine.com

Gouveia Vineyard courtesy of ctwine.com

Saturday, August 2

Take a free wine tour of Gouveia Vineyards between 2 and 5 pm (Saturdays & Sundays) and learn how they make their wine. Stick around for some wine out on their back patio, and don’t forget to pack a snack! 1339 Whirlwind Hill Road, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Sunday, August 3

Stop by Sunset Meadow Vineyards for wine and live music from The Goods from 1:30 to 4 pm. 599 Old Middle Street, Goshen, CT 06756.

Sunset Meadow Vineyards courtesy of ctwine.com

Sunset Meadow Vineyards courtesy of ctwine.com

Reservations are needed for wine tasting, though large parties are urged to call in advance. Most wineries offer wine tours – if you’re planning to take one, your best bet is to call ahead of time for their tour schedule. Making it an all-day event? Be sure to grab a “passport” from one of the wineries on the trail and get it stamped at each stop along the way – once you obtain 16 stamps (no, we are NOT suggesting you visit 16 wineries in a day!!), you can enter to win valuable prizes, including a grand prize trip to Spain.

Enjoy the splendid wine and natural beauty of the Nutmeg state, and remember: if you’re planning on making a few winery stops, it’s a good idea to designate a sober driver (make sure they get to imbibe on the next trip when someone else is designated driver!). Safety on our Connecticut roads always needs to be priority number one. We’ll cheers to that!

Stop by Hoffman Nissan Saturday, July 26, for Great Deals & Good Times!

Hoffman Nissan Dare to Compare Sales Event 2014

UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone who came out to Hoffman Nissan on Saturday, July 26, for the Dare to Compare Sales Event!  Although that event has ended, we will always work to get you the best deal.  Be sure to check out our inventory HERE and stop in to see us.


Postpone your errands or beach plans to Sunday because you DON’T want to miss Hoffman Nissan’s Annual Dare to Compare Sales Event on Saturday, July 26 from 1 to 4 pm!

For one day only, buy or lease a new Nissan and receive a FREE maintenance plan for the life of the loan or lease, AND get a complementary remote starter with the purchase of any new or used in-stock vehicle.

Enjoy a FREE lunch courtesy of Avon Prime Meats while you browse our extensive inventory, then follow it up with some delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Stick around from 2 – 4 pm and hang out with KISS 95.7’s Walmart Jeff for a chance to win great prizes like Connecticut Science Center and Six Flag tickets, a gift certificate to Avon Prime Meats, and lots more!


Hoffman Nissan
46 Albany Turnpike Rt. 44 – Avon/Canton Line West Simsbury, CT 06092

And remember: Hoffman Nissan will match ANY competitor offers!

See YOU Saturday!

Retro Family Road Trip Games…No Electricity Required

family road trip hands It may seem hard to believe but back before the Dawn of Digital, parents kept their kids entertained on long drives to Disney, Yellowstone, Ocean City, and Sesame Place without the assistance of built-in DVD players, cell phones, iPads, video game consoles, and the like. Impossible, you say?

It’s not only possible (after all, our parents and their parents managed well enough), but we highly encourage it as a way to unplug from the constant electronic stimulation in our lives and engage with loved ones.

Why not use your vacation trek as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your family – instead of as isolated icebergs who just happen to all be sharing a vehicle?

Here are 10 ideas to keep your kids occupied en route to your destination – no electricity required.

  1. I Spy: So simple, yet so entertaining. One person picks something from their surroundings and the other people in the car has to guess what that thing is. The person picking the object says to the group “I spy with my little eye something” that’s a certain color (e.g. “I spy something with my little eye something that is blue”). Whoever correctly guesses what the other person spies gets to go next. You can limit the items to what’s in the vehicle or make things a bit harder and play I Spied, selecting items that you’ve already passed.
  2. The Car Next Door: Take turns inventing stories about the people in the car next to yours. Where are they from and where are they going? What do they do for a living? What’s their favorite food? Get really specific, giving them names, hobbies, pets, and so on. Take a vote on whose story is most fascinating.
  3. License Plate Bingo: Every passenger gets a bingo card with different state license plates (check Pinterest for some free templates). Players cross off a square when they pass a state license plate; whoever gets 5 in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally first wins the round.
  4. 20 Questions: One player thinks of a famous person, place, or thing (you can pick a theme for the group if you like, e.g. famous rock stars). Everyone else getsto ask the player 20 questions, which the player can only respond “Yes” or “No” to. Whoever guesses correctly gets to go next.
  5. Hum that Tune: One person hums the tune to a song of their choice, and the rest of the group has to guess what that song is. If you guess the song correctly, the turn passes to you.Globetrotting car holiday vacation
  6. GHOST: Player 1 says a letter out loud, followed by Player 2, Player 3, and so on, alternating letters to spell out a word (for instance, Player 1: C, Player 2: L, Player 3: 0, Player 1: S, Player 2: E). Whoever cannot avoid finishing off the word (Player 2 in the above scenario) gets a “G”, followed by an “H”, and so forth. The player that spells out “GHOST” first loses.
  7. Alphabet Game: Players try to see if they can find letters from highway signs (excluding license plates). Whoever can complete the alphabet first wins.
  8. I’m Going on a Picnic: This alphabet-based memory game starts when the first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by something that begins with the letter “A” (e.g. apples). The second player must repeat what Player 1 said and then add something that begins with a “B”. The game continues through the alphabet with each person repeating everything that has been said in order alphabetically. If someone forgets, they are out. The game ends when the alphabet is completed.
  9. Spot the Car: This is a fun version of a scavenger hunt for families with older kids. Instead of looking for different license plates, see if you can spot different car models. You can find a printable game sheet here.
  10. Journey Journal: Buy cheap journals (or use plain notebooks or create your own journal easily using construction paper, a hole punch, and yarn) and have your kids draw pictures of what they see on the drive toward your destination. You can even bring along some magazines, glue, and scissors, and let them cut and paste pictures into their journals illustrating what they’ve seen along the way (e.g. cars, horses, trees, etc).

So pack your cooler with some yummy snacks, load your luggage, strap your kiddos in, and take this list of fun road games with you. You’ll be in vacation paradise before you know it!

Hoffman Auto Group Sponsored Fidelco’s Ride for Independence



Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation hosted its 4th annual Ride for Independence on Sunday, July 20, 2014. Hoffman Auto Group and many other caring sponsors, vendors, volunteers and Fidelco staff helped to make this day a tremendous success with over 760 people in attendance.

The Ride celebrates the freedom and independence that Fidelco Guide Dogs bring to men and women who are blind across North America.  Retired Air Force SSgt Michael Malarsie and his “wingman”, Xxon, 2014 Hero Dog Award winner, joined the excitement for the day. Learn more about Michael and Xxon’s story HERE.  His story is one of many lives enriched through Fidelco’s charitable mission of hope and independence for men and women who are blind.

10513531_10152593056438746_2070782851119281075_nOn Sunday, riders and their families met at Fidelco in Bloomfield. Attendees were treated to a K-9 demonstration, great music by the southern rock band SHOVELHEAD, creative Caricatures by Christopher Eastwood and so much more. There were adorable puppies, beautiful Fidelco Guide Dogs in training and highly skilled Fidelco dogs for all to see.

Riders enjoyed a scenic escorted route through the beautiful Farmington Valley in the beautiful summer sunshine. Be sure to check our video showing all of the riders as they departed. If you were riding you are in the video!

Hoffman is proud to support Fidelco, an internationally-recognized leader in the guide dog industry.  They have matched over 1,400 clients have with highly trained guide dogs so far.  It takes two years and $45,000 to produce each guide dog. Fidelco provides life-changing canine partners to its blind clients at no cost. Fidelco also provides 24/7 lifetime service to clients with annual follow up visits. Please visit Fidelco and see how you can become involved and help #ShareTheVision.

Thanks again for a great day! Looking forward to an even bigger event next year!

Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org on Facebook

Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org on Facebook

Stop by the Hoffman Auto Group Facebook page to see photos from the event. More photos will be added over the next couple days so check back frequently and feel free to tag and share any you like.


Time to Drop the Top, Connecticut!

2014 Nissan convertible32014 Nissan convertible2

Tis the season to soak in the summer sun and enjoy a scenic drive with the top down, the music up, and your sunglasses on!

Today’s Convertibles are Better than Ever

Not your parents’ convertibles, today’s models offer great highway mileage, a variety of hard-top and soft-top options, improved safety, better durability, season-round comfort, and additional luxuries, like sleek iPod interfaces, keyless start systems, and convenient Bluetooth capability.


2014 porsche boxsterAccording to Consumer Reports, modern convertibles “come with fewer compromises than the ragtops of yore”. Hardtop models now offer better insulation from the noise and weather, increased interior security, and improved visibility, while soft top options boast better insulation and now come with a durable glass rear window, instead of (once popular) “flimsy, scratch-prone plastic windows”.2015 audi TT convertible

Present-day convertibles are more rigidly constructed and can shift from open to closed (and vice versa) in the space of 25 seconds – so your driving experience isn’t dampened in the event of a rogue summer shower!

Comfort All Year Long

2015 Audi convertibleFord Mustang Convertible CTToday’s convertibles also offer features that make them more attractive for both top-down driving and year-round travel. Edmunds.com reports, “Many convertibles now provide wind deflectors that are placed behind the front seats to help keep turbulence down to a minimum while driving”. What’s more, almost all convertibles come with heated and cooled seats to keep passengers comfortable through the sun-kisseddays of summer and into the cooler months, as well as sun-reflective leather upholstery to prevent interior wear and tear.

Blue, black, grey, white, or red – one of our convertibles will take you where you need to go in style, comfort, and safely. Check out our full inventory list of convertibles and cabriolets – then take a cue from The Cars, and let the good times roll!

See the Cabriolet convertibles at Hoffman Auto

See more convertibles available in CT here