Increasing glycerol production is of concern for wine-makers in improving the quality of certain wines. We have compared the impact of strain and relevant environmental factors influencing glycerol production under the same conditions, i.e. standardized conditions simulating enological fermentation. The glycerol production of 19 industrial wine strains ranged from 6.4 to 8.9 g l-1 and varied significantly between strains. The production of acetate and succinate was also found to differ substantially depending on the strain but no significant strain-dependent variation was observed for acetaldehyde. Interestingly, high glycerol production was not correlated to high production of acetate or acetaldehyde, which are undesirable in wine. A detailed study with two low or two high glycerol-producing strains showed that temperature and the initial concentration of nitrogen had little effect on the amount of glycerol formed, although agitation or a nitrogen source composed mainly of ammoniacal nitrogen slightly enhanced glycerol production. The influence of environmental factors remained minor while the predominant factor for glycerol variability in wine was attributed to the strain. Taking into account wine-making constraints, the results indicate that achieving a high glycerol content in wine requires the selection or improvement of yeast strains rather than the control of growth and cultivation conditions.