Iqrit is the Ashkar family’s home village, situated on a beautiful hill in the upper Galilee, about 25 Km north the district town of Akka. All of its 500 inhabitants are Christian Catholic Arabs, and were evacuated by the Israeli army on Nov. 1948. For the last 67 years, the displaced people of Iqrit have been engaged in a legal and popular struggle, for the right to return to their village.
All Iqrit’s inhabitants were villagers, made their living by raising crops and herding sheep, goats and cattle. They cultivated seasonal crops, including mainly tobacco, legumes, olive groves, figs, pomegranates and grapes. The remainder of their land was devoted to grazing. The village had olive presses, two granaries, two springs and dozens of rainwater storage wells dug in courtyards and orchards around the village.
In the Crusading period large ancient fortresses and many winepresses, engraved in the rocks around the village, surrounded Iqrit’s area.
As Israeli army demolished the village of Iqrit on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1951 and the lands were confiscated by the state of Israel, farmers from Jewish settlements around Iqrit started cultivating the lands by planting vineyards since its fertile land and great climate is very suitable for wine grapes growing.
The story of Ashkar Winery began in 2010 when we got the right to purchase the grapes from a vineyard planted on the terraces of Iqrit’s lands. This was the trigger to establishing Ashkar Winery and reviving a family tradition of winemaking.