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.
- 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.
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.
- De Atramentis: Wine Inks
- Nick Stewart Inks: de Atramentis Wink Inks Test
- FPN: Inks Made From Red Wine