I'm starting my first wine kit with the Eclipse pinot noir in a 30L Speidel fermenter, so I'm stoked to try a new hobby. First I'm going out of town for a week so I figured I'd wait until I return to get fermentation started and ask a few questions now before I get started. I understand that pinot noir is one of the more difficult varietals, but I like it and it's a kit wine so I figured I'd get it and see how it goes. So on to the questions... I have read much conflicting advice online as to how to approach kits (ranging from advice that one should toss the kit yeast and get some varietal-specific yeast, toss the sawdust and get their own oak, and reduce liquid volume to intensify flavors, to advice that one should do everything EXACTLY as described in the kit instructions, with no deviation from the instructions whatsoever). So... what to believe? The yeast in the kit is Bourgovin RC212. The instructions indicate I should just throw it in on top of the juice (no yeast starter)... Is there a reason NOT to make a yeast starter and be sure that the yeast isn't dead and worthless before I throw it in the fermenter? I live in Houston, and it's mid-July, so I don't have much confidence that the yeast didn't sit in a UPS truck in Houston heat. If anyone has made this specific kit and has any comments about how not to goob it up, that would be much appreciated!