Howie Hart wrote:After about 12 hours I simply add dry yeast directly to the must and stir again. I've never used a starter, except for secondary (bottle) fermentaion of bubblies and never had a stuck fermentation.
I don't use a starter per se either, but I do hydrate my yeast before pitching it into the must by adding it to about 50 ml of 40ºC water for fifteen minutes - they say that this helps the yeast better adjust to the environment and, I think, osmotic stress that they'll encounter in a sugary solution. I'm not sure how critical it actually is to a successful fermentation, though.
My favoured yeast from among those that I have ready access to remains the EC-1118 (Prise de Mousse). It has a whopping alcohol tolerance of up to 18%, which is why I use it: I am virtually guaranteed that my wine will turn out bone-dry, exactly the way I want it.