A contracting company has been fined $52,500 for unlawfully quarrying in part of the important Gimblett Gravels wine-growing district in Hawke’s Bay, damaging the qualities of soil for viticulture. The Gimblett Gravels is a designated wine-growing area near Hastings made up of gravelly soils that were exposed after a huge flood on the Ngaruroro River in the 1860s. Napier-based Wrightson Contracting Ltd pleaded guilty after being prosecuted by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for quarrying on a property. In September 2020, council officers found a “large-scale” quarrying operation, including a hole 40 metres by 25m and up to 8m deep, along with sizeable stockpiles of dirt, silt, and gravel. The company had extracted about 7160 square metres of gravel from the site over the previous two years, and back-filling of about 3600sqm had taken place. Judge Melinda Dickey fined Wrightson Contracting Ltd $52,500. The maximum penalty is a $600,000 fine.