In this paper we present a review on major advances achieved over the past ten years in the field of fabrication of semiconductor quantum wires (QWRs) using epitaxial growth techniques and investigation of their optical properties. We begin the review with a brief summary on typical epitaxial QWRs developed so far. We next describe the state-of-the-art structural qualities of epitaxial QWRs in terms of (i) size uniformity between wires, (ii) heterointerface uniformity, (iii) crystal purity, and (iv) strength of lateral quantum confinement. Several prominent breakthroughs have been accomplished concerning the improvements of wire qualities, including (i) realization of V-shaped GaAs/AlGaAs QWRs in the “real one-dimensional” (1D) regime in which exciton states can extend coherently over distances exceeding 1 μm, (ii) reduction of residual impurity concentrations in V-shaped GaAs/AlGaAs QWRs to a level comparable to that in an equivalent quantum well (QWL), which resulted in the semiconductor QWR with room-temperature photoluminescence efficiency exceeding that of a QWL, and (iii) reduction of the multimonolayer (ML) interface fluctuations on the second-grown arm QWL surface, in old-generation T-shaped GaAs/AlGaAs QWRs, to the single-ML level. The second part of this article is devoted to the discussion of optical properties of epitaxial QWRs, such as exciton dynamics, fine structure of exciton levels, and nonlinear effects, studied by means of high-spatial resolution spectroscopy, i.e., microphotoluminescence experiments. We will concentrate our discussions on V-shaped GaAs/AlGaAs QWRs and put an emphasis on demonstrating how the interface quality influences wire’s optical properties. The properties of QWRs in the “zero-dimensional quantum box regime” and QWRs in the real 1D regime will be presented in separate sections. We will show that the realization of QWRs in the real 1D regime makes possible the investigation of intrinsic 1D effects by focusing on a single perfect 1D wire region using microscopic techniques. This has led to important results, for instance, (i) the demonstration of the square-root dependence of 1D exciton radiative recombination lifetimes down to a temperature as low as 10 K (limited by the experimental setup) and (ii) the clear demonstration of the existence of Mott transition in a 1D exciton system which is a fundamental problem under long debate.