Saad Yacoub is a Chaldean Christian. Born and raised in Bagdad he was enlisted in the Iraqi army and was drawn into the Iran-Iraq war. Following education he worked in the management of various agribusinesses in Iraq until he immigrated to the Netherlands with his wife and baby daughter. They learned Dutch, got Dutch citizenship and found decent jobs. After the regime of Saddam Hussein ended Saad wanted to see how he could do something in his country of origin. In 2007 Saad was introduced to Agro Eco that wanted to expand its activities in the Middle East. He worked on different ecological projects throughout the Middle East.
Bo van Elzakker was one of the directors of the consultancy that employed Saad. He was involved in developing numerous organic supply chains in the Mediterranean area, Eastern Europe but mainly in developing countries, in Africa. In August 2008 they visited North Iraq together to evaluate the agriculture sector, notably the potential for organic exports of products like grape concentrate. That is when they learned from the tradition among Christian farmers to make brandy from the last grapes of the season.