A rapid screening method for the evaluation of the major fermentation products of Saccharomyces wine yeasts was developed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and principal component factor analysis. Calibration equations for the quantification of volatile acidity, glycerol, ethanol, reducing sugar and glucose concentrations in fermented Chenin blanc and synthetic musts were derived from the Fourier transform infrared spectra of small-scale fermentations. The accuracy of quantification of volatile acidity in both Chenin blanc and synthetic must was excellent, and the standard error of prediction was 0.07 g l- 1 and 0.08 g l- 1, respectively. The respective standard error of prediction in Chenin blanc and synthetic musts for ethanol was 0.32% v/v and 0.31% v/v, for glycerol was 0.38 g l- 1 and 0.32 g l- 1, for reducing sugar in Chenin blanc must was 0.56 g l- 1 and for glucose in synthetic must was 0.39 g l- 1. These values were in agreement with the accuracy obtained by the respective reference methods used for the quantification of the components. The screening method was applied to quantify the fermentation products of glycerol-overproducing hybrid yeasts and commercial wine yeasts. Principal component factor analysis of the fermentation data facilitated an overall comparison of the fermentation profiles (in terms of the components tested) of the strains. The potential of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy as a tool to rapidly screen the fermentative properties of wine yeasts and to speed up the evaluation processes in the initial stages of yeast strain development programs is shown.