Wash cherries well and pat dry. Remove stems and pit cherries using a cherry pitter or a paring knife.
Add all ingredients except vanilla extract to a saucepan and stir well. Cover and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat and allow mixture to continue cooking at a controlled boil covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove cover and continue cooking at a gentle boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove compote from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Use immediately or transfer to a sealable jar and refrigerate. Note: compote will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. Compote keeps for 10 days when stored in a sealed jar.