Sakeone Masters of Sake sign

SakeOne – Forest Grove

Directions to Sakeone

The first thing one might thinks of when imagining the wWillamette Valley probably wouldn’t be Sake, which is a traditional Japanese wine made from fermented rice, much like Whiskey is made from fermented barley or corn and vodka is made from fermented potatoes.  However, there is a fantastic “kura” – which is a traditional sake brewery located is the northern part of the Willamette Valley – Forest Grove.

I visited on a sunny Sunday (see what I did there?).  Which was good, because the “trusty” Bronco decided at that moment to test my patience and refuse to start.  I arrived around 10:30 am – which turned out to be somewhat early for the tasting room to be open, which was fine as I needed to contact my favorite towing company any have them get the bronco to the shop again.  Someday I’ll write an article telling everyone everything just what I love (and don’t) about everything the Bronco, but that is another story.  I waited around for a few minutes taking pictures and enjoying the sunlight.

Outside Sakeone

Momokawa sign
Momokawa is the brand of Sake produced at Sakeone.

There was a very nice area across the parking lot where guests could enjoy lunch at picnic tables and even an area that was covered for the often encountered rainy day in the Willamette Valley.  I took an opportunity before the tasting room was open (and after I contacted the towing company – their expected arrival – 45m – just fine!!) to walk around and admire the setup at Sakeone.  There is some large artwork on what must be the main brewery building (tours are every day 1pm,  3pm, and 5pm) showing traditional sake brewing methods that adds quite a bit of ambience to what might have been a boring industrial building.   There is also a traditional Japanese garden outside the tasting room’s outside sitting area.

Pictures outside the brewery
The brewery itself has large images of traditional sake creation methods.
Bamboo and art in the Japanese garden
Japanese garden with bamboo and traditional artwork
Tohru Murai Garden tribute sign
Tohru Murai Garden tribute sign
Traditional Japanese sculpture
There is even a traditional Japanese sculpture in the garden – it adds quite bit to the appeal of the garden for me.

Just as I was finishing taking pictures I noticed the “open” sign in the top window had been turned on.  This was my quench’s to go inside and give a taste test to some of this Oregon made sake.  The inside was very tastefully done in dark wood with beautiful flooring and walls throughout.  There were shelves and shelves of traditional sake crockery along with displays of some of the awards that SakeOne has been awarded over the years.  There is also a shelf of bottles of some of the most reasonably priced Oregon produced specialty (sake) wine I’ve ever seen!

Inside Sakeone’s Tasting Room

Corner shelves with sake
Beautiful shelves at Sakeone displaying all of their amazing Sake choices.
Shelves of sake
Additional wonderful sake choices at Sakeone.

There is a beautiful seating area with high tables and chairs that looked out onto a beautiful sun drenched morning (at least it was the day I visited!).

Tables inside tasting room
Tables where tasters could relax while sampling some amazing sake.

Sampling the Sake

I wandered up to the serving area and asked the gentleman who was on duty for a suggestion.  He said that he sparkling sake’s were pretty good and highly recommended them.  I ended up deciding upon a sparkling sake called Hwa Yuki, which was plum flavored.  This was an excellent choice!  It was delicious and light and I ended up buying the entire bottle – which was only about two glasses, but was just wonderful.  I also tried several others, the first one was another sparkling sake and had a more subtle flavor though just as tasty.  I just had a sip but definitely approved.  The next was a traditional sake, but was highly filtered, so the color was clear – there wasn’t much taste, except for a fermented flavor, which was extremely tasty.  After that I had a sample of a traditional sake that was “rough” filtered and had more rice coloring in it and more sediment – this one was great as well.  I ended up buying the Sakeone created Moonstone branded Asian Pear sake.  It is a sparkling sake and is best served chilled.

Hwa Yuki sparkling sake
The Hwa Yuki sparkling sake I tried first was absolutely delicious.
Asian Pear Sake bottle
My Asian Pear Sake was amazing!
Behind the counter
Bottles waiting to be bought behind the counter.

Behind the serving area is a very artfully decorated area where other bottles are stored awaiting thirsty customers. 

Summary and Rating

I was very impressed with Sakeone’s layout, customer service, and just the fact that there is a traditional Japanese sake maker located in Forest Grove.  Overall I give Sakeone five Heywillamettes and suggest anyone interested in something a little different take some time and give SakeOne a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


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