Saccharomyces cerevisiae is still the quintessential wine yeast, but not all strains of this species are suitable for the wine industry. In this review, the MICROWINE group of the ICVV reviews the available information on the characteristics of this group of yeasts. The review covers both the main physiological traits and their genetic and genomic features (including extrachromosomal elements). It also reviews the main genetic improvement strategies for wine yeasts (in the image). The document is a handy reference for anyone who needs a first overview on oenological strains of S. cerevisiae; and serves as a catch-up for people who are already familiar with oenological microbiology.