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Preston Hardware



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Preston Hardware
By Oliviana Mingarelli

Most people know that Preston Hardware is one of Canada’s largest independent hardware stores. They stock around 40,000 products including many hard-to-find items. But it may surprise people to learn that for over 20 years Preston Hardware has been one of a very small group of businesses that import and sell grapes for winemaking. Owned by brothers Mario and Sam Giannetti and their business partner, Mario Frangione, Preston Hardware has achieved great success since their opening in 1945.





Some may ask why – with such a successful business already established – did they decide to get into the grape-selling business?

“I guess it’s in our blood,” says Mario Giannetti. “It also helps bring people down to the [Preston Street] area.” He continues to explain that Preston Hardware was involved in selling wine equipment for a number of years before they began importing grapes. They wanted to become a “one-stop shop” for winemaking, so it was only a matter of time before they began importing grapes.

These men have made it possible for people of all origins to make their own wine in the comfort of their own homes. Examining their success, it is evident that Ottawa definitely loves to make their own wine. In fact, Giannetti explains that during the grape season, which runs from the beginning of September to the third week of October, they import over 25 tractor trailer loads of grapes. During the season, Preston Hardware has over 20 different varieties of grapes in stock at all times. And, Giannetti explains, hey can also special order grapes from particular regions.

Winemaking is an important part of Italian culture, yet it’s not only the Italians that are making wine. Giannetti explains that there is quite a number of Anglo-Saxon and French people who come to purchase grapes for wine as well.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of people interested in making their own wine,” says Giannetti.

Many of these same people come down to Preston Street during the weekend of the Vendemmia (Little Italy’s wine festival).

Mario Giannetti, who is also past president of the Preston Street BIA, endorses the festival and organizes different events in front of Preston Hardware. People can even attend a wine seminar by co-owner Mario Frangione on how the popular drink is made.


This article was originally published in the September 2002 issue of Il Postino.
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