The van Gent family tree can be traced back to 1790 and reveals a family of distillers and winemakers.
It was Johannes Hermanus van Gent (1817 to 1859) ship owner, merchant, distiller of spirits, member of the Municipal Council, Chamber of Commerce and world traveller who influenced a long line of van Gents. With some fifteen sailing ships in service, he imported into Holland the grains which were sold to distillers. He died on the way back from the Holy Land and was buried in Schiedam, Holland in 1859.
Eighty years later, Pieter was born in Doetinchem, Holland.
In 1958, Pieter entered the employ of an exclusive wine importer, Robbers en van den Hoogen. One of the owner’s sons was the Cellar Master who was conscripted into the army enabling Pieter to assume his position. It was mainly work with French wines from the top chateaus that were imported in bulk and then aged in casks in the underground cellars. The wines were blended where necessary and bottled. Years later there came a law that the wines had to be bottled at the chateaus.
During his employment, Pieter studied and gained a Diploma of professional skill for Retail in Strong Alcohol, Weak Alcohol and Alcohol free drinks, as well as learning about all types of wine in France such as Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace, Sauternes, Champagne, German Rhine’s, Spanish Sherries, Portuguese Ports, Italian red wines and Hungarian Tokays.
In 1959, Pieter attended the wedding of his cousin Jacques van Gent in Schiedam. Jacques' brother, Hans, was living in Australia and it was Jacques who said to Pieter, “Why don’t you go to Australia, there is wine there.”
Four months later, Pieter arrived in Australia.