This study evaluated the chemical and volatile composition of lychee wines fermented with four commercial yeast strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: EC-1118, R2, 71B and MERIT.ferm. Yeast cell population, pH, malic acid, ammonia and some amino acids had significant differences between strain 71B and other strains. There were strain variations with regard to degradation and retention of some juice volatiles as well as formation of new volatile compounds such as most esters and certain terpene compounds. Ethyl octanoate had the highest odour activity value (OAV of 500–1100), followed by ethyl hexanoate (about 50–85), among the common odorants in all lychee wines. Ethyl octanoate reached its highest OAV (1077) in the lychee wine fermented with strain EC1118, whereas ethyl hexanoate had the highest OAV (85) in the wine fermented with strain MERIT.ferm. Cis-rose oxide, the character-impact volatile in lychee juice with highest OAV (161), was dramatically reduced to trace levels after fermentation.