Genetic analysis was performed on 45 commercial yeasts which are used in winemaking because of their superior fermentation properties. Genome sizes were estimated by propidium iodide fluorescence and flow cytometry. Forty strains had genome sizes consistent with their being diploid, while five had a range of aneuploid genome sizes that ranged from 1.2 to 1.8 times larger. The diploid strains are all Saccharomyces cerevisiae, based on genetic analysis of microsatellite and minisatellite markers and on DNA sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA of four strains. Four of the five aneuploid strains appeared to be interspecific hybrids between Saccharomyces kudriavzevii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with the fifth a hybrid between two S. cerevisiae strains. An identification fingerprint was constructed for the commercial yeast strains using 17 molecular markers. These included six published trinucleotide microsatellites, seven new dinucleotide microsatellites, and four published minisatellite markers. The markers provided unambiguous identification of the majority of strains; however, several had identical or similar patterns, and likely represent the same strain or mutants derived from it. The combined use of all 17 polymorphic loci allowed us to identify a set of eleven commercial wine yeast strains that appear to be genetically homozygous. These strains are presumed to have undergone inbreeding to maintain their homozygosity, a process referred to previously as 'genome renewal'.