1. Not securing the racking tube...imagine the garden hose wriggling in the air spraying water...only this was raspberry mead.
2. Not dating my additives upon opening...things DO expire. IE sorbate...was not a matter of not enough, not adding in combination with k-meta, it was too old. Can even happen when purchased at LHBS.
3. Never purchase corks that are repackaged. For example, your LHBS buys in bulk and sorts them by 30s and puts in ziplock bags, or even worse just in a plastic bin on shelf. Bad idea. Good thing I knew not to buy those!
4. When working with fruits other than grapes, it is best if you use sugar in the form of invert syrup (honey excluded). Grapes have invertase in their makeup, other fruits do not. Invertase helps convert sugars and less stress for yeast. 1 part water, 2 parts sugar plus citric/tartaric acid brought to just below a boil while stirring, and hold for 10 minutes,.stir often. Easy to make in increments of1000gm sugar, 500gm(or 500ml) water and 1 gm citric or tartaric acid. FYI: the use of gram equals same in milliliter only applies to water, no other substance
5. Always indicating on label the type, start date and O.G., if room add any dates of additions, rackings, and S.G. readings along the way. I also keep computer records of my recipe and notes...and I back those up to a thumb drive in the event my computer crashes. I happen to have backup to an offsite server, but the thumbdrive allows me quick access on one of the boy's computers if mine is down, or if internet is down and I cannot access offsite backup. The computer record allows me to quickly and easily share info with others, instead of typing it all out, good old copy/paste!
6. Lastly, time will change a wine. Even at one year if you are not sure, just continue to age...you may be quite shocked. Worse case scenario cook with it, blend with it, turn to vinegar, or make a sangria....get taste opinion of others before you pour out.
Motto: quel che sara sara