The aim of this work was to investigate if contaminating microorganisms, eventually present in bacteria and yeast preparations used as commercial starters in winemaking, have the ability to produce the biogenic amines histamine, putrescine and tyramine. Thirty commercial starters (14 yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and 16 bacteria Oenococcus oeni) were cultured in synthetic broth and analyzed by TLC to detect amine production. Oenococcus oeni commercial preparations did not contain contaminants, but some yeast preparations resulted contaminated with amine-producing bacteria. Bacterial contaminants were isolated and analyzed for their ability to produce biogenic amines using HPLC and TLC. Decarboxylase genes were identified using PCR analysis followed by sequencing. Fermentations were performed in grape juice with two yeast commercial preparations containing bacterial contaminants to check if the potential biogenic amine production could happen also during winemaking. It was found that this production is possible; in particular, in the conditions used in this work, tyramine production was detected. Therefore, the results of this study have significance in relation to the risk of biogenic amines in wine. Moreover a novel species of Lactobacillus was found to be able to produce histamine. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article).