Respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are a significant and increasing global health problem. These diseases are characterized by airway inflammation, which develops in response to various stimuli. In asthma, inflammation is driven by exposure to a variety of triggers, including allergens and viruses, which activate components of both the innate and acquired immune responses. In COPD, exposure to cigarette smoke is the primary stimulus of airway inflammation. Activation of airway inflammatory cells leads to the release of excessive quantities of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in oxidative stress. Antioxidants provide protection against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and thus may be useful in the management of inflammatory airways disease. Resveratrol, a polyphenol that demonstrates both antioxidative and anti-inflammatory functions, has been shown to improve outcomes in a variety of diseases, in particular, in cancer. We review the evidence for a protective role of resveratrol in respiratory disease. Mechanisms of resveratrol action that may be relevant to respiratory disease are described. We conclude that resveratrol has potential as a therapeutic agent in respiratory disease, which should be further investigated.