Ashkar family hails from Iqrit, a small village in the Upper Galilee where the remains of ancient wine presses testify to a vinous history that dates back thousands of years. There, the family produced wine from generation to generation until the seizure of its territory in 1948. Iqrit, the painting of which appears on all Ashkar labels, was a Palestinian Christian village, located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Acre. It was seized and depopulated by the Israeli military during the war and their territory later became part of the new state of Israel.
Ashkar family is now based in Kufur Yasif, where the winery was re-established in 2010 by Nemi Ashkar, who had been dreaming of building a winery since he was working in the United States in the late 90’s. He is from the second generation of the displaced community of Iqrit village. “When I saw more and more vineyards being planted around Iqrit, I felt as if I was pierced by iron nails” he said. “I believed that if I were to make wine, it must come from its marvelous vineyards. I knew I could bring in grapes from many other places, but I found no salvation in doing so. Indeed, I believed that salvation is to be found in wholesome work in a beloved land; and Iqrit is my beloved land, precisely because it is my homeland. Everywhere else I feel an exile, but in Iqrit I always feel at home. Ashkar Winery is only another step in my struggle for fulfillment. My object in life is to have a publicly recognized and legally secured way of returning to Iqrit and there re-build the winery.” This struggle for return is reflected in the wine’s flavor characteristics, all of which are influenced by the vast spaces of Iqrit.