This review focuses on the considerable amount of research that has been directed towards the improvement of efficiency and reliability of malolactic fermentation (MLF), which is important in winemaking. From this large body of work, it is clear that reliable MLF is essential for process efficiency and prevention of spoilage in the final product. Impediments to successful MLF in wine, the impact of grape and wine ecology and how this may affect MLF outcome are discussed. Further focus is given to how MLF success may be enhanced, via alternative inoculation strategies, MLF progress sensing technologies and the use of different bacterial species. An update of how this information may be used to enhance and improve sensory outcomes through metabolite production during MLF and suggestions for future research priorities for the field are also provided.