This is an attempt at a comprehensive coverage of the wines of the world, its regions, and key producers. Perhaps its too ambitious an undertaking in one book, as there is just so much information and so many areas to cover, its not possible to do justice to it all. However, the writers do give it a pretty good go, and have done a very reasonable job.
As a reference guide and educator, Hugh Johnson's 'Wine Companion' book is superior, but where this does very well is in its excellent detailed regional maps, helpful summary of major varieties in each region, and information on specific producers. However to try to cover the 'key producers' across every major wine region in the world is a pretty impossible task in one book, and any wine enthusiast is likely to find some of their favourites missing. Having said that, the lists are pretty good, with some helpful details. For something more more comprehensive, though, it would be better to look at books that cover a single country or region in more detail.
My main gripe with the book is its massive imbalance in the coverage of different countries. 'A new look at a new world of wine' is what we are promised, yet some New World regions are almost skimmed over. France will always be of huge importance, and the origin of many major varieties, but it is here that the book concentrates most attention, covering ground that has been trodden many times, and better. The various regions of France are given 236 pages, not unreasonable given it's importance, but what is bizarre is the fact that North America is given 124 pages. Even Italy and Spain, clearly among the world's top wine nations, and both developing in leaps and bounds in the last 2 decades in terms of quality, have half as much coverage as North America! (and a fraction of France)
So in conclusion, its very good in parts, but doesn't quite manage to live up to its claims. It's good, but if it's a choice between the two I'd recommend buying Hugh Johnson's better (and lighter!) 'Wine Companion'