Why in the world would I want to publish a post on my website about a Spanish glass porron wine pitcher? Because if you have the skills they are so much fun, both to use and to make! And I do, I have the skills, but barely, on both accounts.
A porron is (was, not so much anymore) typically used in Spain to share a bottle of wine with friends and family, and without everybody having to keep track of their own wine glass. Also making this a communal vessel is the unspoken rule that you are not allowed to place your lips on the porron as you pour the wine into your mouth. You know, cooties and germs and such…
With two openings, a tall neck to pour your bottle of wine into, and a spout with a fairly small hole, drinking from this decanter can take quite a bit of practice to make sure you don’t spill all over yourself. In fact, you may want to practice with water before staining your nice new white shirt with that fancy red wine you just poured into a sweet handmade glass porron.
Made out of ceramics or glass, just about every picture of a porron that you will see has a tall neck, the spout, and wide bottom. This design lets the pitcher act as a decanter, giving the wine a little extra surface area to open up and make for a better drinking experience.
But more importantly, and amusingly, this glass wine pitcher was designed to be a communal drinking vessel. By pouring wine into your mouth, and not placing your lips on the spout, you can then pass the wine along to your friend and allow them to try to drink without spilling any wine all over themselves.
Nowadays most people use their own wine glasses, but way back when, before everybody had their own collection of wine glasses, porrons were the way you would share a bottle of wine at the dinner table with those you care about.
I first experienced a porron when traveling in Spain with my family when we swung by a small Cava producer for a tour and Cava tasting, would definitely recommend! As part of their introduction, our guide held up a porron and asked if anyone was willing to try it, in front of everyone else, likely knowing there would be some serious spillage.
My son raised his had very quickly.
Loved that experience, love that picture. But then the thoughts started popping up in my head. Didn’t I know how to blow glass, just a little bit? Didn’t I have access to a glass blowing studio in town? Should I even bother to learn how to make a handmade glass porron?
Hand blown glass porrons are fairly cheap and easy to get, available for under $30 on all sorts of websites. But now I wanted to make my own, to have on hand when entertaining guests plus a few more to give away as gifts when the mood struck.
But because they are so inexpensive to buy, and also because they don’t seem that popular, I couldn’t find anyone to turn to who could show me how to make one. There is not a lot of demand for a glass porron pitcher, or a lot of how-to articles and videos on how to make these!
So I guess I’d just have to figure it out for myself. To be fair, I got a bit of a headstart, or two, from seeing an Instagram picture from Pretentious Glass Co. and also from an in-studio lesson from John Stokes at Louisville’s Flame Run Studio, my hometown friends and glassblowing studio!
But I still had never seen anyone make a real-life glass porron in person, just had a few ideas of what might be included. And so I practiced a few times, getting my timing down, how to do a few steps by myself, without an assistant, until I figured it out!
I am sure that my method is not the only way to make a glass porron wine decanter, but the video above shows how I decided to go about it, and from what I can tell, this is the same method used for decades and centuries to make a glass porron, even if I can’t find many sources to see for sure how they might have been made 100 years ago!