This paper reports a comparative study of the inhibitory potential of 18 phenolic compounds, including hydroxybenzoic acids and their derivatives, hydroxycinnamic acids, phenolic alcohols and other related compounds, stilbenes, flavan-3-ols and flavonols, on different lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains of the species Oenococcus oeni, Lactobacillus hilgardii and Pediococcus pentosaceus isolated from wine. In general, flavonols and stilbenes showed the greatest inhibitory effects (lowest IC50 values) on the growth of the strains tested (0.160–0.854 for flavonols and 0.307–0.855 g/L for stilbenes). Hydroxycinnamic acids (IC50 > 0.470 g/L) and hydroxybenzoic acids and esters (IC50 > 1 g/L) exhibited medium inhibitory effect, and phenolic alcohols (IC50 > 2 g/L) and flavanol-3-ols (negligible effect) showed the lowest effect on the growth of the LAB strains studied. In comparison to the antimicrobial additives used in winemaking, IC50 values of most phenolic compounds were higher than those of potassium metabisulphite for O. oeni strains (e.g., around 4-fold higher for quercetin than for potassium metabisulphite), but lower for L. hilgardii and P. pentosaceus strains (e.g., around 2-fold lower for quercetin). Lysozyme IC50 values were negligible for L. hilgardii and P. pentosaceus, and were higher than those corresponding to most of the phenolic compounds tested for O. oeni strains, indicating that lysozyme was less toxic for LAB than the phenolic compounds in wine. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed damage of the cell membrane integrity as a consequence of the incubation with antimicrobial agents. These results contribute to the understanding of the inhibitory action of wine phenolics on the progress of malolactic fermentation, and also to the development of new alternatives to the use of sulphites in enology. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article).