Posted in Ink, Reviews

Welcome to a Fountain Pen’s Story

One of my absolute favorite things about having fountain pens is the options when it comes to inks. Inks can be pigment or dye based, some are waterproof, some shimmer with glitter, and some are fragrant. There are so many options, so many colors, and shades, the nuances are incredible and some are made from wine. Today, I am highlighting a couple inks made from wine by de Artamentis of Germany. I don’t usually review or comment on inks, don’t be critical.

So Why Wine

Wine has been used in the manufacturing of ink since the Middle Ages. Wine, and sometimes vinegar beer, were used in place of water to mitigate the impurities introduced by water-borne contaminants. Sure, they wouldn’t bathe but they worried about their inks. Wine ink is not particularly popular in these times. A couple of the retailers I’ve spoken once sold wine inks but no more. Be warned, many ink names lead one to believe the ink is from wine when in fact the manufacturer is referring to the color and no wine was included in the recipe.

The Company Line

Wine has been added to ink. In accordance with traditional manufacturing processes. These inks consist of concentrated wine and some other ingredients which, for example, bind residual alcohol and the wine acid, and which improve the writing characteristics. Writing with pure, concentrated wine, no additional water is added to the ink. Furthermore, wine ink has unique writing behavior. It flows in an unmistakable, wonderful Red out of the nib. This Red is dependent on each wine. On paper, a chemical reaction occurs and oxidization occurs. Something very remarkable about these inks is the scent of wine, which caresses the nose. These inks fulfill the greatest demands regarding ink techniques and are suitable for all fountain pens. Writing with wine inks is an extraordinary experience and a symbol of the fine writing culture.

The Inks

  • Chianti –A deep crimson ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of blue-grey along the edges. 
  • Riesling –An ochre-colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow along the edges.
  • Brandy –A yellow-brown colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow and green along the edges.

In addition to eliminating water contamination, wine introduces alcohol which has two important properties; dries quickly and prevents fungus from growing in the ink.

Ink Blots


All three inks were fragrant, the most aromatic is the Riesling. I didn’t notice the aroma so much while using the ink as I did when I opened the bottle. The color of the written words look nearly the same to me, thus I introduced a little water, illustrating the color differentiation. As the ink dried the color stabilized to the shade you see.

I was a little biased towards the Chianti before the sampling. All three inks flowed well. Each feathered substantially on cheap paper so I switched to a 120 gsm paper used with watercolor.

If wine ink tickles your interest, in the US, sample size bottles are available from Vanness Pen Shop; in Europe, order directly from de Atramentis. I am not compensated for these recommendations.

Reference Material



I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

12 thoughts on “Welcome to a Fountain Pen’s Story

  1. I signed up with Cult Pens ages ago. Every so often emails drop. I remember the wine inks selling on their site. But it’s very much vaguely. Interesting stuff. I thought they would be difficult to purify, but from your explanation it seems not. I’d use them as a dip nib exercise willingly. I’ll keep a look out for one to try. Thanks for the interesting insights as ever. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I bought a shed load from a charity shop and soon found the ones that benefited with those small attached ink reservoirs. Some designs hold ink for longevity pretty well without the reservoir. Esterbrooks relief 314 and Smoothline USA nibs especially. Brandauer Clan Glengarry with reservoir is my go to. Maybe a reservoir with gentle manipulation halts the flow to nib.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I first got into FPs, glitter inks blew my mind. Then there were the sheeny ones. I thought scented inks was where it would end. But now wine? Gotta say, I haven’t heard of this range, but now I have.

    Interestingly enough, I’ve defaulted to just blacks and blues lately. Particularly waterproof and archival ones, because I only use my FPs to journal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glitter is not my cup of tea. I have a scented ink, a novelty. I’ve been using wine inks for 80% of my reds for years now. The waterproof/docuemnt inks I usually use for artwork. I’ll stretch something using the waterproof, water-colored ink, add a little water & poof. The normal ink fills the page and the original sketch stays. Thanks for the visit.


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