A fast and automated method for the analysis at ng L(-1) level of aroma-powerful polyfunctional thiols has been developed and applied to wine. The sample is just poured in a 20 mL vial and its vapour extracted with a poly(dimethylsiloxane)-divinylbenzene (PDMS-DVB) solid-phase microextraction fibre (65 microm thickness) previously exposed to vapours of the reactive (pentafluorobenzyl bromide) and of an alkali (tributylamine). The derivatised compounds are subsequently desorbed in the GC system and determined by negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry. The method is fully automated by using a Combi-Pal autosampler conveniently programmed. The analysis takes 50 min, which contrasts to the long and tedious methods previously proposed. The development of an optimal procedure is constrained by the aggressive character of the reagent (towards the fibre and the chromatographic column), its volatility and the quality of the blanks that can be obtained. Therefore, a critical step was fixing in the fibre a "safe" and repetitive amount of reagent. This was achieved by exposing the fibre (5 min) to the vapours of a water:acetone (9:1) solution containing 200mg L(-1) of reagent. Under these conditions, the extraction-derivatisation of analytes improves with time and temperature, and the best working conditions are dictated by a compromise between sensitivity, speed and chromatographic performance. Although analytes studied were 2-methyl-3-furanthiol, 4-mercapto-4-methyl-2-pentanone, 3-mercaptohexanol, 2-furanmethanethiol and 3-mercaptohexyl acetate, a good analytical performance could be achieved only for these two last compounds. Both of them can be repetitively (10%<RSD<20%) determined in wine at concentrations below 0.1 ng L(-1). Other aspects considered in the method setup were the oxidation of analytes during the process, and the electron-capture detection (ECD) and MS properties of the pentafluorobenzyl derivatives of different polyfunctional thiols.