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It is always nice to hear businesses creating their products in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, and the French winery Château Maris is a great example of it. Château Maris is an organic and biodynamic winery, since their cellar was constructed using bricks made of organic hemp and lime. They also installed a green roof and solar panels, meaning that Château Maris is now a net-zero energy building.

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Château Maris is a 9,000-square-foot wine cellar that produces enough energy to meet its needs and is also biodegradable. The hemp bricks used in the construction process ensure consistent temperature and humidity in the structure, while they also absorb carbon from the surrounding environment. In other words, the winery needs no heating, cooling or ventilation systems to function optimally.

Hemp is a great building material, since it insulates, while remaining breathable, meaning that, in the case of the winery, it keeps the structure warm in winter and cool in the summer, and always in the optimal temperature range of 54°-63°F. The structure also has two exterior walls, which are connected by an air tunnel that is also well insulated against extreme temperatures. Should additional airflow be required to lower the heat that is created by the fermentation process of wine creation, there is also a manual duct in the cellar’s roof, which can be opened and closed at need.

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The winery owners decided to use hemp and lime to build their cellar after careful research, which took them about five years. During this time they carefully evaluated all other natural building options, such as stone, earth and even straw. In the end they chose hemp, because it is locally produced and the least expensive. Also, hemp bricks are very light, with a 2-foot brick only weighing about 33 pounds. This makes transporting them very easy. Hemp brick production is also very sustainable, since after the addition of lime, which hardens hemp straw into bricks, the chemical transformation into limestone carbonate captures and sequesters carbon.

So, Château Maris is both biodegradable and sequesters around 44 kilos per square meter of carbon, which it will continue to do for the next 20-25 years. The winery is also currently in the process of applying for a LEED-Platinum certification. Apart from the sustainable nature of the building, the cellar was also fitted with LED lighting, while they also have systems in place to capture rainwater, and to recycle gray water.

But that’s not all. The winery also uses only recycled glass bottles and recycled paper labels for their products. They also donate $1.50 from each bottle sold to the Jane Goodall Institute, the Rainforest Foundation or International Polar Foundation. Château Maris has plans to sell 300,000 bottles of wine to high-end restaurants such as NYC’s Waldorf Astoria this year alone.