Place the wine, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, orange rind, clove and peppercorn in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears standing upright. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Take a thin slice off the bottom of each pear to keep it standing upright.
Place the pears in the wine mixture, then simmer uncovered for 20-35 minutes depending on size and ripeness, until the pears are just tender; be careful not to overcook.
Carefully transfer the pears to a bowl, using a slotted spoon. Continue to boil the poaching liquid until reduced bu about half. Let cool, then strain the cooled liquid over the pears and chill for at least 3 hours.
Place the pears in four individual serving dishes and spoon a little of the red wine syrup over them. Serve with whipped cream or sour cream.