The involvement of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of alcoholic diseases in the liver has been repeatedly confirmed. Resveratrol, a natural phytoalexin present in grape skin and red wine possesses a variety of biological activities including antioxidant. This study was conducted to evaluate whether resveratrol has a preventive effect on the main indicators of hepatic oxidative status as an expression of the cellular damage caused by free radicals, and on antioxidant defence mechanism during chronic ethanol treatment. Wistar rats were treated daily with 35% ethanol solution (3 g/kg/day i.p.) during 6 weeks and fed basal diet or basal diet containing 5 g/kg resveratrol. Control rats were treated with i.p. saline and fed basal diet. Experimentally, chronic ethanol administration leads to hepatotoxicity as monitored by the increase in the level of hepatic marker enzymes and the appearance of fatty change, necrosis, fibrosis and inflammation in liver sections. Ethanol also enhanced the formation of MDA in the liver indicating an increase in lipid peroxidation, a major end-point of oxidative damage, and caused drastic alterations in antioxidant defence systems. Particularly the activities of hepatic superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) were found reduced by ethanol treatment while glutathione reductase (GR) activity was unchanged. Dietary supplementation with resveratrol during ethanol treatment inhibited hepatic lipid peroxidation and ameliorated SOD, GPx and CAT activities in the liver. Conclusively, we can suggest that resveratrol could have a beneficial effect in inhibiting the oxidative damage induced by chronic ethanol administration, which was proved by the experiments that we conducted on rats.