Chardonnay, being the predominant white wine-grape cultivar in the Australian wine sector, is subject to widely varying winemaking processes with the aim of producing a variety of wine styles. Therefore, juice composition might not always be ideal for optimal fermentation outcomes. Our aim was to better understand the composition of Chardonnay juice and how compositional parameters impact on fermentation outcomes. This was achieved through a survey of 96 commercially prepared Chardonnay juices during the 2009 vintage. Common juice variables were estimated using near infrared spectroscopy, and elemental composition was determined using radial view inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. The influence of elemental composition on fermentation outcomes was assessed by fermentation of a defined medium formulated to reflect the composition and range of concentrations as determined by the juice survey. Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) strain effects were also assessed. Key parameters influencing fermentation outcomes were verified by laboratory scale fermentation of Chardonnay juice. This exploration of Chardonnay juice identified interactions between juice pH and potassium concentration as key factors impacting on fermentation performance and wine quality. Outcomes differed depending on yeast strain.