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US - Bakersfield, California

Delano grape grower Jakov Dulcich shot

The founder of Dulcich & Sons, the company best known for its Pretty Lady grapes, was shot and killed Wednesday morning. Jakov Prosper Dulcich, 84, was found with multiple gunshot wounds around 8:30 a.m. on a Kern County road.

Investigators from the Sheriff's Office determined Dulcich's SUV and the suspect vehicle had been traveling on South Browning Road when an occupant of the suspect vehicle fired into Dulcich's car.

According to the company website, Dulcich and his wife emigrated from Croatia and, after spending a year in Chile, settled in Delano in 1960. They worked in vineyards owned by his uncle until they had saved enough money to buy 30 hectares of farmland in 1975.

A article describes how Dulcich began creating brand labels for different grapes he grew, and in 1992 Dulcich & Sons began marketing its grapes to the world. In 1996, the company's Sunlight International sales division was created and its first storage facility built. As of 2012, the company had more than 1,000 hectares of farmland and multiple storage facilities covering tens of thousands of square metres.

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