Pears: In large saucepan combine sugar, wine, water, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks and star anise; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and add pears. Poach pears at simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. (Test all pears for doneness with skewers as some may cook faster than others depending on ripeness.) Remove poached fruit from liquid and increase heat to high. Reduce liquid to a thick syrup, about 20 minutes. Taste. If you desire a sweeter taste, add more sugar. If you would like to make the syrup thicker, add some cornstarch. Cool.
Serve: Transfer each pear to a plate/bowl and serve with reduced syrup.